Scientists generated beating cardiac muscle cells from special stem cells, according to a study published on September 12, 2018.
This study was conducted by the scientists at the University of Würzburg. Every heart attack leads to the death of some of the cardiac muscle tissues, which will be accompanied by more or less marked scarring. Many attempts were made in the past years to substitute the destroyed tissue by adequately functioning cardiac muscle using stem cells. However, none of it were successful.
Researchers of this study is focusing on special type of stem cells that was discovered in vascular walls. The scientists could show that these ‘vascular wall-resident stem cells’ exist also in the walls of intracardiac blood vessels, the so-called ‘coronary vessels’ and are actually activated to respond when a heart attack happens. The main problem until now was that during an infarction, stem cells did not develop into cardiac muscle cells, as desired. Professor Süleyman Ergün, head of the Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the JMU, said, “Our results provide a new approach, in that it may be possible to therapeutically manipulate the behavior of the stem cells in the intracardiac vascular walls so that they are stimulated into regenerating the destroyed cardiac muscle tissue.”
According to the therapists, if a timely and therapeutically effective control of the newly discovered stem cells from the intracardiac blood vessels is made possible, it will be a major step in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, this is a chance to significantly reduce the therapeutic cost of these diseases. However, the studies are still limited to experiments on animals and in the lab. Further studies are therefore required to deepen the findings obtained before they can be used on humans.