Working with heart attack-stricken mice, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists has shown that embryonic stem cells may one day live up to their clinical promise.
In a paper to be published in the January 2006 issue of the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, a team led by UW-Madison stem cell researcher and heart specialist Timothy J. Kamp reports that all-purpose embryonic stem cells, transplanted into mouse hearts damaged by experimentally induced heart attacks, shift gears and morph into functional forms of the major types of cells that compose the healthy heart.
The studys results are important because they demonstrate that blank-slate embryonic stem cells can be introduced to damaged heart tissue, develop into heart muscle and into cells that form the hearts blood vessels. If perfected, such therapy could provide a practical, less-invasive alternative to current therapies such as surgery, improve the quality of life for many patients and reduce the number of deaths attributed to heart disease, now estimated at about 700,000 deaths per year in the United States.
Timothy J. Kamp | EurekAlert!
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