20 December 2007

Repair That Heart! Clever Muscle Cell Therapy Bypasses Transplant--Regenerative Medicine Comes of Age

Osaka University Hospital researchers have grown sheets of a patient's muscle cells (myoblasts) in the laboratory, then in the operating room applied these myoblast sheets to the patient's failing heart.
...the researchers first took about 10 grams of muscle from one of the patient’s thighs. Myoblast cells (a type of muscle stem cell) were then extracted from the muscle tissue, placed in a culture solution and grown into 50-micron-thick sheets measuring about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter. Several layers of myoblast sheets were then applied to the surface of the impaired heart, where they helped strengthen the muscle and restore cardiac function.

Within months, the patient’s pulse rate and cardiac output (the amount of blood pumped from the heart with each contraction) returned to normal levels. The patient’s ventricular assist device was removed in September, and doctors say he will be able to lead a normal life after being released from the hospital at the end of this month.
Pink Tentacle

Clearly this procedure required extensive preparation and post-surgical rehabilitation. But consider what a heart transplant requires. Besides waiting for years for a donor, the surgery, the rehab, then a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs. No, clearly the myoblast approach is the winner--if it works.

Regenerative medicine is the process of using advanced cellular biology techniques to "refurbish" a failing organ. The heart is an obvious candidate for regenerative medical approaches. The kidneys, lungs, liver, and pancreas are others. Eventually, it will be possible to regrow any organ or tissue from adult stem cells (ASCs) using the appropriate scaffolding and growth factors, and knowing how to turn the proper genes on and off at the right times.

Kudos to the Osaka team.

Labels: ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts