In a study published online on Feb. 12 in Circulation Research, a journal of the American Heart Association, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health professor of medicine Tim Kamp and his research team showed that they were able to grow working heart-muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) from induced pluripotent stem cells, known as iPS cells.
The heart cells were originally reprogrammed from human skin cells by James Thomson and Junying Yu, two of Kamp’s co-authors on the study.
“It’s an encouraging result because it shows that those cells will be useful for research and may someday be useful in therapy,’’ said Kamp, who is also a cardiologist with UW Health. “If you have a heart failure patient who is in dire straits — and there are never enough donor hearts for transplantation — we may be able to make heart cells from the patient’s skin cells, and use them to repair heart muscle. That’s pretty exciting.”
It’s also a few more discoveries away. The researchers used a virus to insert four transcription factors into the genes of the skin cell, reprogramming it back to an embryo-like state. Because the virus is taken up by the new cell, there is a possibility it eventually could cause cancer, so therapies from reprogrammed skin cells will likely have to wait until new methods are perfected.
Still, the iPS cardiomyocytes should prove immediately useful for research. And Kamp said the speed at which knowledge is progressing is very encouraging.
Jianhua Zhang, lead author on the study, noted that it took 17 years, from when a mouse embryonic stem cells were first created in 1981, to 1998, when Thomson created the first human embryonic stem cells. In contrast, the first mouse iPS stem cells were created in 2006, and Thomson and Yu published their paper in November 2007, announcing the creation of human iPS stem cells that began as a skin cells.
While research on embryonic stem cells is controversial, because it destroys a human embryo, lessons learned through such research apply to current work with iPS cells made from adult cells.
“That’s one of the important things that have come out of the research with embryonic stem cells, it taught us how human pluripotent stem cells behave and how to work with them,’’ Kamp says. “Things are able to progress much more quickly thanks to all the research already done with embryonic stem cells.”
Many types of heart disease have known genetic causes, so creating cardiomyocytes grown from patients who have those diseases will likely be some of the next steps in the research. One of Kamp’s colleagues, Clive Svendsen, a UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health professor of neurology and anatomy, has grown the iPS cells into disease-specific neural cells. Kamp and Svendsen are also on the faculty of the Waisman Center and the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center.
Kamp’s latest research, proving that iPS cells can become functional heart cells, is just one step along the way to better understanding and treatment of disease.
“We’re excited about it, because it’s the some of the first research to show it can be done, but in the future, we’ll probably say, ‘Well, of course it can be done,’” he says. “But you don’t know until you do it. It’s a very mysterious and complicated dance to get these cells to go from skin cells to stem cells to heart cells.”
Susan Lampert Smith | Newswise Science News
Cancer diagnosis: no more needles?
25.05.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found
25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences