Joanne Kurtzberg, MD
Credit: Duke University Medical Center
Scientists at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center have scientifically validated for the first time that stem cells in umbilical cord blood can infiltrate damaged heart tissue and transform themselves into the kind of heart cells needed to halt further damage.
Clinical proof of this principle has existed for a decade, as Duke physicians have used cord blood to correct heart, brain and liver defects in children with rare metabolic diseases. But until now they lacked the molecular evidence to prove that cord blood stem cells were the root of a cure.
Now, the Duke team has dissected heart tissue to confirm the presence of donor stem cells in heart tissue. Moreover, they showed that donor stem cells had differentiated into heart muscle cells called myocytes, which then produced the critical enzyme needed to halt the progressive heart damage, said Kirsten Crapnell, Ph.D., a research fellow at Duke.
Becky Levine | dukemed news
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