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Stem Cells Repair Heart Damage: UM

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.
Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.