If youve ever used a loofah in the shower, youve stirred up some stem cells. As the outer layer skin of sloughs off, stem cells in the dermis rush to repair and replace those buffed away.
Now imagine a tiny loofah that works in much the same way inside the corridors of the human heart. As it scrubs, it alerts heart stem cells to rush to the site of dying cells to begin renewal and repair of cardiomyocytes - cells that pump blood through the heart.
While a heart loofah may remain the stuff of medical fantasy, Steven Houser, Ph.D., Director of Cardiovascular Center for Temple University School of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean of Research, is sold on the idea that the heart - like the skin - contains its own stem cells: cells that are self-renewing and can be differentiated into different types of heart tissue. Its a controversial subject in cardiovascular circles, but for Houser, who spent thirty years studying the molecular biology of heart cells, the stakes are worth it when it comes to combating congestive heart failure (CHF).
Eryn Jelesiewicz | EurekAlert!
One step closer to reality
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