Stem Cells Repair Heart Damage: UM

Feb 27, 2014

It’s a good-news day for researchers in Florida, with reports on stem cell treatments for heart damage and preclinical trials on an HIV vaccine, both from University of Miami. And for a feel-good story, there’s a TV report on a child raising more than half a million dollars for liver-disease research at University of Florida that might benefit his friend.

Here are some details:

  • University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute reports promising results from double-blind trials of a treatment for patients with extensive heart damage, the Miami Herald reports. They derive stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow and  introduce them to the heart through a catheter, a procedure that takes only an hour.  The team has also found success with donor stem cells, which would make the treatment  faster and easier.
  • It’s only mice, and usually Health News Florida doesn’t include results from animal studies. But what the heck, any progress toward an HIV vaccine is worth mentioning.  In a study published in the Journal of Virology, the Miami Herald reports, a UM team says it was able to kill the HIV virus in a mouse by injecting an experimental vaccine that triggers a strong immune response.  Larger animal studies come next, and then humans, which means it will be a decade before this vaccine could emerge, the researchers said.
  • Dr. Mike Weinstein at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital almost ran out of money for his research on a rare liver disease that affects just 500 children in the world. But as ABC News reports, an 8-year-old boy has raised more than $500,000, on behalf of his best friend, one of the 500. He wrote a book about a chocolate bar and it’s selling all over the world.