Revitalising heart cells

09 August 2012


Heart Uni-ventricle


A team at the Heart Institute at San Diego State University have discovered that damaged heart tissue from older patients with heart failure can be rejuvenated by modified stem cells taken from their own hearts, publishing their findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The scientists took samples of cardiac stem cells from elderly patients and added a protein called PIM-1, which helps to promote cell survival and growth. They found that the telomeres in the cells - the caps on the ends of chromosomes - started to lengthen, effectively turning back the genetic clock and making the cells younger. So far, the researchers have tested modified heart stem cells in mice and pigs, and found new heart tissue growth in just a few weeks, opening the door to potential tissue engineering for people with heart failure in the future.


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