Stem cell therapy regenerates heart muscle in primates, finds a study led by Dr. Charles Murry, UW professor of pathology, bioengineering and cardiology. This approach, which uses heart cells created from human embryonic stem cells, should be feasible in humans and may be ready for clinical trials in humans within four years, researchers say.

The goal of this research is to replace heart muscle that is damaged by a my myocardial infarctions, a common type of heart attack that blocks a major artery and deprives heart muscle of oxygen. Heart muscle does not regrow, thus weakening the heart and making it less able to pump blood. Heart attack victims are often left in in poor health and more susceptible to heart failure. Researchers hope that this method will restore failing hearts to normal function.

The study was published in the advanced online April 30, 2014 edition of Nature. Read more in UW Health Sciences NewsBeat.