Cell transplantation - a new dawn for heart disease treatment

September 12, 2001

A new article published in Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine reviews the exciting new developments in cell transplantation as a treatment for heart disease.

In this article, Doris Taylor from Duke University, North Carolina explains how autologous skeletal myoblasts (patient derived muscle cells) can be used to treat heart disease. Skeletal myoblasts are first removed from the patient's muscles and grown in the lab before being injected into the patient's heart. This avoids the need for donor tissue and problems associated with the use of stem cells, such as an increased risk of tumour formation. Using autologous skeletal myoblasts also overcomes the ethical problems surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells. Evidence from studies in a range of animals has shown that these muscle cells can survive and integrate into injured heart tissue resulting in improved function.

Preliminary evidence has also suggested that autologous skeletal myoblasts could be used to treat heart disease in humans. This evidence has led to the establishment of clinical trials in both Europe and the United States to evaluate the safety of this new treatment. Further research using other cell types including stem cells is also under way; one recent study, for example, suggests some stem cells could be used to repopulate damaged regions of the heart in mice.

The use of cell transplantation to treat heart disease is in its infancy with questions about cell survival and integration yet to be answered. However, the groundbreaking research reviewed in this paper may herald a new frontier in treatment of heart disease providing hope to millions.
To read this article in full, visit: http://cvm.controlled-trials.com/Commentaries/cvm-2-5-Taylor.pdf

To read further press releases from BioMed Central the publisher of Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine visit: http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/pr-releases.asp

BioMed Central

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