Injecting proteins similar to insulin directly into the heart can cause damaged cells to repair themselves and begin regenerating again, researchers said.
Tests on pigs showed that the dormant cells could begin regrowth following a "regenerative medicine" treatment using certain growth factors – naturally occurring proteins which cells use to communicate with their environment.
Experts from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) said the four-year study presented a "significantly different" therapy to those currently being developed by scientists.
The findings, produced with teams from Italy and Spain, could lead to simple and affordable treatments for heart attacks, they said.
Dr Bernardo Nadal-Ginard, Director of LJMU Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology Unit, said approaches currently being pursued in clinical trials were "time consuming" and "expensive".
He said: "It is unlikely that they will have a major impact on the treatment of life-threatening diseases affecting millions of people, such as heart disease and failure.
"In contrast, this new approach by LJMU could ultimately lead to a clinical myocardial regenerative therapy which is effective, simple, affordable, readily and widely available and easy to apply and compatible with the current clinical standard of cardiac care."
Dr Nadal-Ginard said the research shows that injecting growth factors IGF-1 and HGF caused significant "anatomical, histological and physiological" regeneration of damaged hearts and "sets the path" for testing clinical trials.
Another member of the LJMU BioStem research team, Dr Georgina May Ellison, said funding had been secured for clinical tests of the new method to begin at the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona.
英国利物浦约翰·莫尔大学生物干细胞研究团队另一成员Georgina May Ellison博士说：“该研究将在西班牙巴塞罗纳的瓦尔德希伯伦大学医院投入门诊医疗，已经获得资金资助。”
She said: "We have obtained very encouraging evidence from this the preclinical data.
"If we can get funding we would want to run clinical tests the UK. We are in talks with funding bodies and the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital to do those clinical tests there."
"I think it holds-out the highest promise that we have on cellular therapy that is out there at the moment."