MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Some are calling it the next big frontier in cardiac treatment — injecting stem cells to regenerate the heart. But the experimental procedure means major surgery. Doctors are opening the door for heart patients who want to test the benefits of stem cells — without an operation.
One heart attack behind him, Max Eaton is now struggling with heart failure. He’s hoping stem cells are the answer to heal his ailing heart. “I happened to run into this article, which was the second or third time I heard about this stem cell research, and decided
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A technique that combines nanotechnology with adult stem cells appears to destroy atherosclerotic plaque and rejuvenate the arteries, according to a study reported at the American Heart Association‘s Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2010 Scientific Sessions – Technological and Conceptual Advances in Cardiovascular Disease.
In the study, nanoparticles (microscopic particles with at least one dimension less than 80 nm) were infused into the heart of pigs along with adult stem cells. After the nanoparticles were heated by laser light, they burned away arterial plaque. However, nanoparticles were less effective at eliminating plaque if not combined with adult stem cells.
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Stem cells can thrive in segments of well-vascularized tissue temporarily removed from laboratory animals, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Once the cells have nestled into the tissue’s nooks and crannies, the so-called “bioscaffold” can then be seamlessly reconnected to the animal’s circulatory system.
The new technique neatly sidesteps a fundamental stumbling block in tissue engineering: the inability to generate solid organs from stem cells in the absence of a reliable supply of blood to the interior of the developing structure.
“Efforts to use tissue engineering to generate whole organs have largely failed,” said Geoffrey Gurtner,
A new report brings bioengineered organs a step closer, as scientists from Stanford and New York University Langone Medical Center describe how they were able to use a “scaffolding” material extracted from the groin area of mice on which stem cells from blood, fat, and bone marrow grew. This advance clears two major hurdles to bioengineered replacement organs, namely a matrix on which stem cells can form a 3-dimensional organ and transplant rejection.
Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D.
Blood vessel blockage, a common condition in old age or diabetes, leads to low blood flow and results in low oxygen, which can kill cells and tissues. Such blockages can require amputation resulting in loss of limbs. Now, using mice as their model, researchers at Johns Hopkins have developed therapies that increase blood flow, improve movement and decrease tissue death and the need for amputation. The findings, published online last week in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hold promise for developing clinical therapies.
“In a young, healthy individual, hypoxia