Researchers say new heart muscle and vessel tissue could be generated and used to treat heart failure from Cardiac stem cells, even from elderly and sick patients.

Scientists have successfully isolated and multiplied the cardiac stem cells found from tissue removed from the muscular wall of the heart's chambers in 21 patients. It includes from patients who had diabetes with the average of patients being 65.

“Regardless of the gender or age of the patient, or of diabetes, we were able to isolate in all of them a pool of functional cardiac stem cells that we can potentially use to rescue the decompensated human heart,” said Domenico D’Amario, M.D., Ph.D., author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Harvard, Boston, Mass.

Women have a longer life span than men, and even with heart failure their hearts generally show more resilience — possibly explaining the researchers’ finding, D’Amario said.

“Now you have a resident cardiac stem cell that is already programmed to form cardiac muscle, so this cell is already superior to any other cell you can take from other tissues,” said Piero Anversa, M.D., senior author of the study and director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine.