Stem cells can help repair heart tissue

CTV News has reported that a new study presented at the American Heart Association conference in California found that donated stem cells from bone marrow were effective in repairing heart tissue after a heart attack.

The research, which was conducted on 30 patients from Baltimore and Miami and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, demonstrated that anyone’s cells may be used as a treatment for cell rejuvenation. The news source noted that doctors were excited by the findings and this may lead to stem cells being stocked in medical facilities to be used after a heart attack, much like blood is kept on hand.

“You could have the cells ready to go in the blood bank so when the patient comes in for a therapy – there’s no delay,” said research author Joshua Hare M.D., of the University of Miami. He also noted that one donor can provide enough cells for ten patients.

Each of the research subjects had suffered a heart attack at various times in the past, but all of them had developed heart conditions due to the scar tissue that formed around the heart, which made it difficult for the organ to pump blood.

The researchers collected marrow from the hip bones of volunteers and the subjects themselves. The marrow cells were kept at Johns Hopkins University laboratory for a month so they could grow. They were then delivered to the patients’ hearts via a tube that went through the groin artery. According to CTV News, 15 of the patients were treated with their own cells while the other 15 were treated with a stranger’s.

CTV News reported that some cells that are introduced into the body are attacked by the immune system, but the ones that the researchers used did not have a key feature on their surface that would prompt the body to see them as foreign and trigger a rejection.

A year later, the scar tissue on the patients’ hearts was shown to be significantly reduced and they reported an increase in how far they could walk, as well as a marked improvement in their quality of life.

Heart health
Other ways to bolster heart health, according to the Mayo Clinic, include exercising for 30 minutes a day and eating fruits and vegetables while avoiding foods with trans fats and saturated fats. The University of Maryland also notes that omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to improve cardiovascular wellness, they can be found in hemp milk, flax seeds, chia seeds and an Omegakrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals. The Mayo Clinic also recommends maintaining a healthy weight – men should have a waistline that is 40 inches or less and women should not have a waistline that exceeds 35 inches – and regularly getting screened for high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.

Stem cell therapy
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cell-based therapies, which can help generate new cells will be useful. Currently, donated organs and tissues are used to treat people, but there is a greater demand than supply.

The source reports that stem cells may be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Besides healing certain conditions, the NIH notes that stem cells can also be used to test drugs and find treatments. One example of this is cancer cells being used to test the effectiveness of tumor medications. However in order for the tests to be effective, the conditions would have to be replicated for each test. Observing cells can also be helpful for finding treatments because it will allow scientists to see how certain diseases are born and grow.

 

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