|Study shows muscle tissue grown from stem cells can repair heart damage|
May, 2012 — A Japanese research team has developed a promising new treatment for heart failure by growing sheets of new heart muscle tissue from stem cells. When implanted in damaged rat hearts, the bioengineered tissue improved heart function.
The study, led by Dr. Kenji Miki, a cardiovascular surgeon at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, appears in the May issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.
Miki's team removed adult stem cells from 30 female mice and genetically modified them to mimic embryonic stem cells. They then used the modified stem cells to grow sheets of healthy heart muscle tissue and implanted them into rats with damaged heart muscle.
The implanted tissue sheets survived for four weeks and the damaged hearts of the rats that received them began to heal, they found.
"The tissue we developed not only survived but improved heart function," Dr. Miki said. "We believe this study could lead to a very real procedure to regenerate the heart."
Implanting the new cells in sheet form appeared to improve their ability to transfer to the damaged host cells, he added.
"This research addresses two main issues in cardiac regeneration: the need to produce large numbers of heart muscle cells from a patient's own cells and the need for an effective cell delivery system," said Anthony Atala, MD, Editor of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. "While, additional research is needed, this method looks promising as a future treatment for heart failure."
Ten scientists took part in the study, including others at Osaka University and its hospital, biomedical engineers from Tokyo Women's Medical University and a stem cell expert from Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application.
The full article, “Bioengineered myocardium derived from induced pluripotent stem cells improves cardiac function and attenuates cardiac remodeling following chronic myocardial infarction in rats,” can be accessed at www.stemcellstm.com.