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Washington: An Indian-American researcher is leading clinical trials on an experimental technology that might be able to  repair dead heart muscle, or even reverse heart failure, a media report  said.

"The doctors say: 'We'll give you the beta-blocker, aspirin and the Lipitor and we can just hope to maintain you' ... but short of them getting worse or getting a heart transplant, there's not too many options," said Amit Patel, an associate professor in the division of  cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine,  Deseret News reported on Saturday.

The procedure in Patel's phase 1 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clinical trials include mixing the "extracellular matrix" powder -- a  mixture of proteins and molecules isolated from heart muscle --



with  saline or water, injecting the mixture into the patient's dead heart muscle, and waiting three-to-six months to see if the patient's heart  muscle regenerates.

It may sound like something out of "Frankenstein", said Tim Henry, the director of cardiology at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, "but the  technology -- inspired by stem cell research -- is within our reach".

"(Patel) is clearly one of the most experienced stem cell people in the country," Henry was quoted as saying.

Scientists have been trying stem cell therapy and gene therapy to stop  the degeneration of heart function that occurs after a massive heart  attack, but they haven't been much good at reviving completely dead scar  tissue, Patel said.


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