In what is described as the world’s biggest experiment in the use of stem-cell therapy for patients with serious heart problems, the Ministry of Health is spending US$5.48 million (R$13 million) on a stem-cell therapy trial on 1,200 heart patients. If the treatment is proved efficient it will become part of the public health service (SUS).

Spokesmen for the ministry report that the SUS could economize up to US$210 million (R$500 million) annually on transplants, hospitalizations and other surgeries on heart patients if the treatment with stem-cells works. As for the patients, they will certainly have better quality of life with less need to use medications and fewer hospital visits. And it is also estimated that the new treatment could save as many as 200,000 lives over a three year period.

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I am excited and happy for Brazilians.