UM stem cell research on heart may go national

Written by Lidia Dinkova on March 18, 2015

University of Miami stem cell research on generating healthy heart tissue in heart attack survivors is on track to be tested across the US.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of federal medical research arm the National Institutes of Health, is to fund the $8 million cost if the trial wins necessary approvals.

The trial, the first of this research in humans, is a step toward restoring full heart function in heart attack survivors.

The research developed at the UM Miller School of Medicines Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute is on combining two types of stem cells to generate healthy heart tissue in heart attack survivors. Scientists have in the past studied using one type of stem cell at a time, a method thats worked OK, said Dr. Joshua Hare, founding director of the UM stem cell institute.

But UM research shows that combining two types of stem cells expedites healing and regeneration of healthy heart muscle.

We could remove twice the scar tissue than with either cell alone, Dr. Hare said. We had some scientific information that they actually interacted and worked together, so we tested that. It worked.

Researchers combined mesenchymal stem cells, usually generated from human bone marrow, and cardiac stem cells, isolated from a mammals heart.

Stem cells are cells that havent matured to specialize to work in a particular part of the body, such as the heart. Because these cells are in a way nascent, they have the potential to become specialized for a particular body function.

Doctors have been using stem cells to regenerate lost tissue from bones to heart muscle. The mesenchymal and cardiac stem cells each work well in generating healthy heart tissue in heart attack survivors, Dr. Hare said. Combining them expedites the process, according to the UM research.

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UM stem cell research on heart may go national

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