STEM cells taken from bone marrow could be used to treat heart disease by injecting them into damaged tissue, early results show.

Stem cells are cells in the body which have not yet specialised and can become any type.

Oxford University scientists hailed the “encouraging” evidence in results of 26 small clinical trails involving 1,255 people.

A year or more after treatment, just three per cent of people had died, compared with 15 per cent of people who had not had the procedure.

Hospital readmissions stood at only two in 100 for those testing out the new treatment.

Dr Enca Martin-Rendon, who carried out the study with the Cochrane Heart Review Group, said larger studies would be carried out to get more conclusive evidence.