“If I give my heart to you
Will you handle it with care
Will you always treat me tenderly
And in every way be fair”…Doris Day, 1954
My wife loves the old Doris Day movies and songs. She’ll trade me one Doris Day movie for one really bad Vin Diesal-Jason Statham type movie. Individual naps are allowed.
The subject of “hearts” has been at the forefront of many conversations in our home since January 1st. For new readers that want some back story about my wife’s massive coronary on New Year’s Eve, please click on my first three blog posts of 2013. (Amy, Fellini and Me, Breathe in the Air, Beloved)
The term “Stem Cells” has been around since the ‘60s, but it was basically a theory and in 1968 there was a successful bone marrow transplant between siblings that cured SCID. Then in the ’78, stem cells were discovered in human blood. The research in the ‘80s were basically “mice” induced, but in the ‘90s VOILA! Scientists were growing stem cells in petri dishes and writing research papers. In 1997 scientists discovered that Leukemia originated in a stem cell which proved that there were actually cancer stem cells. This past decade there have been astounding break-throughs. In 2007, paralyzed rats were able to walk again after being injected with human stem cells.
In 2009, Cedars Sinai published a report in “The Lancet” showing remarkable findings of patients’ heart tissue repairing itself after injecting stem cells from the patient into the heart muscle. The initial trial has been monitored closely for three years and there is much to cheer about.
Cedars Sinai extracts/snips a clump of heart muscle (the size of a peppercorn) and basically grows the extracted stem cells in a petri-dish and after a few weeks it is ready to be injected back into the area of the heart that was damaged from the heart attack. The newly cultivated cell clump is now about 2 millimeters long and even starts beating on its own in the petri dish. It nests in the scarred/damaged area of the heart and begins to grow new strong cells and allow the heart to beat stronger and more efficiently again.
As you read this, Amy is in Cedars Sinai of Los Angeles, going through hours of testing to see if she qualifies for the latest research program of heart stem cell research. That lady of mine, Amy, has the greatest heart of any person I’ve ever known. If she can even get more heart, the world will be a much better place because of it.