According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.

It can affect the lungs: The blood flow begins to back up in the lungs. This build-up occurs because the heart cannot pump the normal amount of blood through the normal cycle. This is known as congestive heart failure.

It can affect the kidneys: To make up for the changes in blood flow, your body delivers oxygen-rich blood only to the most important organs. These organs are your brain and heart. This means that the kidneys do not receive enough oxygen rich blood. The kidneys help your body get rid of extra water. Over time, without enough blood flow, kidneys cannot perform normally. When the water in your body is not regulated well, excess water may settle in different parts of your body, most commonly, your ankles, feet, and legs causing swelling.

Heart valves are also at risk. Heart valves open and close to control the blood flow within the heart. If valves become narrow, a back-up of blood occurs at the valve. If the valve cannot close properly, a back-flow of blood could occur.

Seventeen years ago Asahara and Isner published their landmark paper in Science, identifying the endothelial progenitor cell, or the EPC as we now know it, as an adult cell with the capability of building new or repairing damaged blood vessels. While at the time there was much skepticism, today there is general acknowledgment of the fact that every organ has the capability of self-repair via stem cells residing in the body. As a result there is great interest in exploiting this natural repair capability for therapeutic purposes and currently there many companies and reseradchers looking to developtherapies that use adult stem cells to replace damaged tissue and restore function to muscles, organs and valves affected by heart disease such as Athersys, Caladrius, Mesoblast Capricor, Vericel, Celyad, T2 Cure and Pluristem.


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