Medical Minute 7-15:

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

63-year-old Robert Boyce was an avid fisherman before he had three heart attacks in just two years -- severely damaging his heart.

"My heart was beating like 40, 40 some percent less than it should have been."

Boyce and seven other men were part of a study conducted by Doctor Joshua Hare and his team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, testing the heart-healing power of stem cells.

In a non-invasive catheterization procedure, researchers injected stem cells from patients' own bone marrow directly into damaged areas in their hearts.

"We wanted to see if we took bone marrow and injected the bone marrow into the areas of injury in these human hearts in these patients, would those hearts get better?" said Joshua M. Hare, M.D., Cardiologist Director, Stem Cell Institute UM Miller School of Medicine.

The preliminary results: Stem cells significantly reduced the size of enlarged hearts, dramatically improved function in injured areas and reduced scar tissue.

"We think that, for one of the first times in medicine, we've actually taken a damaged area of the heart and made it start beating again."

"My heart... I never had a heart attack. I don't feel as if I had a heart attack.," said Robert Boyce.

Now, a little at a time, Robert's getting back into fishing again.

And he's already feeling younger. An active man hoping that his own stem cells can give him a new lease on life.

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