The British Heart Foundation (BHF) has created a blood test that detects heart failure at an early stage, and thumb-sized patches of heart tissue which could help treat damaged hearts after cardiac arrest.
The patches include up to 50 million human stem cells which are programmed to become working heart muscle cells that beat; one or more of them can be inserted into the heart to prevent or reverse damage of the heart attack.
The patches start to imitate mature heart tissue within one month, as lab tests revealed and will be associated by chemicals which help stimulate the cells to repair and regenerate.
Clinical trials on humans will start in the next two years.
"This is a prime example of world-leading research that has the potential to mend broken hearts and transform lives around the globe. If clinical trials can show the benefits of these heart patches in people after a heart attack, it would be a great leap forward for regenerative medicine,” associate medical director at the BHF, which is funding the research, Professor Metin Avkiran pointed out.
"Heart failure is a debilitating and life-changing condition with no cure, making everyday tasks incredibly difficult. If we can patch the heart up and help it heal, we could transform the outlook for these people," he added.
In addition, scientists at Queen's University Belfast unveiled a new accurate blood test to detect heart failure where doctors measure different key proteins in the blood.
"There's an urgent need to develop tests that can diagnose heart failure at an earlier stage and with greater accuracy in order to improve outcomes for patients with the disease. The results from the test are promising and we're now carrying out further research to see if this will be a clinically useful tool for diagnosis of heart failure,” research fellow at Queen's, Dr Claire Tonry, said.