Tag Archives: Harvard Medical School

Stem Cells Used to Grow Hearts

From left to right: A normal pig heart, a pig heart after being decellularised, the pig heart prepared for recellularisation. Photos courtesy of the University of Minnesota.

In a medical first, University researchers have created a beating heart in the laboratory. Using detergents, they stripped away the cells from rat hearts until only the nonliving matrix, or “skeleton,” was left; they then repopulated the matrix with fresh heart cells.

If perfected, the technique may be used someday to generate new hearts for patients. In the United States alone, about 5 million people live with heart failure, 550,000 new cases are
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Birth of new cardiac cells

A sophisticated imaging system, multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS), demonstrates cell division in the adult mammalian heart. Researchers were surprised to find that new heart muscle cells primarily arose from existing heart muscle cells, rather than stem cells.

Recent research has shown that there are new cells that develop in the heart, but how these cardiac cells are born and how frequently they are generated remains unclear.

In a study from Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), researchers used a novel method to identify the new heart cells and describe their origins.

The research was published today in Nature.

“The question about how
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Enhancing the regenerative capacity of stem cells

tem cell scientists scored what at first appeared an easy win for regenerative medicine when they discovered mesenchymal stem cells several decades ago. These cells, found in bone marrow, can give rise to fat, bone, and muscle tissue, and have been used in hundreds of clinical trials for tissue repair. Unfortunately, the results of these trials have been underwhelming. One problem is that these stem cells don’t stick around in the body long enough to benefit patients.

But Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital aren’t ready to give up. A research team led by Juan Melero-Martin
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Stem Cell Therapy is Reality

The mesenchymal stem cells found in the bone marrow can give rise to bone, fat, and muscle tissue, and have been used in hundreds of clinical trials for tissue repair.

Unfortunately, the results of these trials have been underwhelming, the main problem being that these stem cells do not stick around in the body long enough to benefit the patient.

Researchers have now found that transplanting mesenchymal stem cells along with blood vessel-forming cells naturally found in circulation improves results.

Stem cells used to make “heart disease-on-a-chip”

Harvard scientists have merged stem cell and ‘organ-on-a-chip’ technologies to grow, for the first time, functioning human heart tissue carrying an inherited cardiovascular disease.

The research appears to be a big step forward for personalized medicine, as it is working proof that a chunk of tissue containing a patient’s specific genetic disorder can be replicated in the laboratory.

The work, published in Nature Medicine, is the result of a collaborative effort bringing together scientists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Harvard Medical
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