Hadassah physicians have discovered a new approach to repair injured hearts by growing heart cells in culture from a segment of the heart’s left atrium, often removed during open-heart surgery.

In treating heart failure, physicians struggle to prevent loss of cardiac muscle with medications, but no one has been able to repair or replace the cells that have been lost. Many experimental approaches have been tried, including implanting bone marrow cells or stem cells from limb muscles, with no major success. Hadassah, however, has found that, contrary to prior belief, the heart does contain some cells that retain the capability to divide and make new heart tissue.