Stem Cells Could Repair Heart

New breakthrough leads to possibility of the heart being able to repair itself.
2:41 | 11/14/11

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Transcript for Stem Cells Could Repair Heart
Big medical news nearly six million Americans have heart failure. But today the word we've longed to hear a medical breakthrough. That unleashes the power of our own stem cells word that stem cells can reverse heart damage even recreate a healthy heart. Here's ABC's health and medical editor doctor Richard -- A hard they can heal itself. A dream of medicine that may now be closer to reality two years ago Mike -- heart muscle was -- damaged by a massive heart attack. He couldn't even climb a flight of stairs. Now. I'll walk up two flights of stairs that pick in the elevator I can -- pitch with my grandkids. You know play -- with them. Mike 68 years old was the first patient to receive a revolutionary treatment. Heart cells were removed from his body during bypass surgery then in the last part stem cells were grown. Remember stem cells can develop into any kind of -- These stem cells were injected that into his heart's blood supply -- they began to grow heart muscle. This study done in part at university of Louisville, Kentucky was small just sixteen patients and was done just to see if the procedure was safe. The surprise not only was it safe it worked. It's a remarkable that the very first time we've asked them we are seeing such as the market effect before the stem cell treatments -- heart was barely able to contracted pump blood. A year later you can see Mike's heart is leaner more robust pumping 40% more blood than before. And now it's up by 60%. Need to be. Advancing condone human life if you think about it how much more natural Kennedy. Four for your body to to attempt to heal itself. That's what's so beautiful about this this thing is so beautifully simple heart heals itself it's nature's way of doing things. Pumping 40%. More I have not heard you just excited and longtime Ritz Hotel -- It's just a real prospect of the nation's number one killer could be cured me this is this is really incredible I read this and in my jaw -- you watch him playing field hockey with his daughter. This -- someone with heart to heart patient with heart failure don't tend to improve very much it for so long doctors have look at how do you repair a broken heart that damaged muscle. And this is taking us in that direction but so there are those caveats yes you know that they have to do further studies they have to -- studies in many many patients to see. How many stem cells how long do they do they live longer but this is. Really bringing hope in this area it was so dark for so long great to see -- smiling right now it feels good for every one.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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