ESC Congress 2003
Adult heart cells have limited regenerative capacity and therefore any significant cell loss, such as occurs during a heart attack, is mostly irreversible and may lead to the development of progressive heart failure. Congestive heart failure is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the western world, placing a significant economic burden on the health care systems. Despite advances in the medical, interventional, and surgical therapeutic measures, the prognosis for these patients remains unacceptably poor. With a chronic lack of donors limiting the number of patients who can benefit from heart transplantations, development of new therapeutic paradigms for heart failure has become imperative
A potential novel therapeutic approach for this situation may be to replace the dysfunctional or scarred tissue with new myogenic cells. However, this cell replacement strategy has been hampered by the lack of cell sources for human heart cells and by the lack of direct evidence for functional integration of donor and host tissues. We describe the establishment of a novel source of cardiomyocytes for cell therapy, the human embryonic stem cell differentiating system. Our results demonstrate that these unique cells can differentiate in the dish to generate spontaneously contracting tissue with the structural and functional properties of cardiac cells. We also demonstrate that the generated cardiac tissue can integrate in vitro with preexisting cardiac cultures as to form a single functional unit.
Camilla Dormer | alfa
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