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Engineered Stem Cells: A Treatment For Heart Attacks?


Senior Member
Engineered Stem Cells: A Treatment For Heart Attacks?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Engineered stem cells reduced organ damage and led to better cardiac function after a heart attack, according to a recent study conducted in animals.

This study was designed to help determine the role cytokines -- substances secreted by cells that have an effect on other cells -- might play following a heart attack.

Researchers from Germany implanted five groups of 10 rats with tiny polyurethane scaffolds, which were seeded with different genetically-engineered stem cells. Three groups received cells that overproduced one of three cytokines: hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF-1) or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). One group received a gene called Akt1, which is associated with cytokine pathways. Another group received scaffolds seeded with unmodified stem cells. Five more groups were injected with the same types of modified and unmodified stem cells without the plastic scaffolding. An 11th group received a sham treatment.

During six weeks of follow-up, investigators saw significant improvements in blood pressure function among the rats implanted with scaffolds seeded with stem cells modified to overproduce Akt1, SDF-1 and HGF. SDF-1 and Akt1 also seemed to limit cardiac damage from the heart attack. Researchers noted there was a decrease in blood pressure function in the control group, which received sham procedures.

SOURCE: American Heart Association's Basic Cardiovascular Sciences 2010 Scientific Sessions -- Technological and Conceptual Advances in Cardiovascular Disease, July 21, 2010