We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Science may soon be able to repair damaged hearts
Millions of people suffer from heart failure (heart failure). Although the disease is treatable, it is not curable according to the current state of medicine. In a study, scientists have now gained new insights into the possible treatment of damaged hearts.
Urgent treatment for heart failure
A combination of cardiac cells derived from human stem cells may be the answer to the development of an urgently needed treatment for heart failure. This emerges from a new study that was published in the journal "Nature Biotechnology", reports the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which co-financed the study.
Damage from a heart attack
According to the BHF, the researchers found that by transplanting an area of damaged tissue from a combination of myocardial cells and support cells taken from the outer layer of the heart wall, they were able to help the organs separate from the to recover damage caused by a heart attack.
Epicardial cells developed from human stem cells
Scientists have been trying to repair damaged hearts with stem cells for years. So far, efforts have been unsuccessful, primarily because the vast majority of transplanted cells die within a few days.
Dr. Sanjay Sinha and his team at the University of Cambridge, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Washington, have now used supportive epicardial cells developed from human stem cells to extend the life of transplanted heart cells.
The researchers used 3D human heart tissue that had grown from human stem cells in the laboratory to test the cell combination.
They found that the supporting epicardial cells supported the growth and maturation of the heart muscle cells. They also improved the heart muscle cell's ability to contract and relax.
According to the information, this combination also enabled the transplanted cells to survive in rats with damaged hearts and to restore lost heart muscle and blood vessel cells.
The researchers now hope to understand how the supporting epicardial cells promote heart regeneration. Understanding these key details will bring them one step closer to testing cardiac regeneration therapies in clinical trials.
Almost two million Germans with heart failure
"An estimated 1.8 million people with heart failure currently live in Germany," wrote the German Heart Foundation on its website.
In Britain, according to the BHF, hundreds of thousands of people are affected, often as a result of a heart attack that damages the heart muscle.
With heart failure, the heart is no longer as efficient as a healthy heart and can therefore no longer adequately supply the body's tissue with blood (and thus with oxygen).
Still low survival rates
"The treatment of chronic heart failure is based on different pillars," writes the German Heart Foundation.
Medications such as ACE inhibitors / angiotensin 2-blockers, beta-blockers or diuretics), rhythmological therapies (elimination of an irregular heartbeat or implantation of a three-chamber pacemaker) and targeted physical training are important.
So far, however, the disease is considered incurable.
The UK and US researchers are now hoping that one day, using the regenerative power of stem cells, they will be able to heal the human heart with a patient's own cells.
"Despite advances in medical care, heart failure survival rates remain low and life expectancy is poorer than with many cancers," said Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, BHF Medical Director.
“When it comes to healing damaged hearts, the early promises about stem cells haven't really come true. We hope that this latest research will mark the turning point in the use of these remarkable cells. ”(Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- British Heart Foundation (BHF): New stem cell combination could help to repair damaged hearts, (access: 03.08.2019), British Heart Foundation (BHF)
- Deutsche Herzstiftung: What exactly is heart failure ?, (accessed: 03.08.2019), Deutsche Herzstiftung