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Stem Cells Could Possibly Treat Heart Failure

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in ROCHESTER, Minnesota approves A clinical trial for heart failure.

Researchers are curious whether stem cell research might have the capability of improving the heart and prevent heart failures.

Director Dr. Andre Terzic from the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine out of Rochester, Minnesota says that this decade long project using stem cells to repair “cure” damaged heart tissue could have implications for millions of Americans with heart disease.

This study is set to involve 240 heart failure patients from 40 different hospitals in Europe and Israel.

Terzic told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that this could be a “paradigm shift” in the treatment of heart disease.

This project was developed in collaboration with Cardio3 BioSciences out of Belgium.

The cells must become “cardiopoietic” or repair cells by harvesting stem cells from a patients bone marrow from the hip. after that process they must inject the cells back into the heart to repair damage in the heart.

A researcher on Terzic’s team, Dr. Atta Behfar isolated hundreds of proteins involved in the transcription process that takes place when stem cells are converted to heart cells and identified eight proteins crucial to the process.

Heart failure is a condition where the heart is not able to pump enough blood throughout the body for its normal functioning. The cause can be either functional or structural disorder of the heart. Most common causes of heart failure include cardiomyopathy, hypertension, heart valve problems and coronary artery disease. There is no heart failure cure. This is why scientists are trying to find one.

With respect to the heart, stem cells have the ability to not only home into the damaged areas but also to initiate a cascade of biological events which both culminate in healing of the heart muscle. A good example is, animal studies have demonstrated that stem cell therapy will cause new muscle cells to be formed through stimulation of dormant stem cells that are already inside the heart muscle. In these studies, the administered stem cell also transformed into new heart muscle cells.

Results of this study are expected by early 2015.

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