Could stem cells help a damaged heart fix itself Scientists discover way to transform tissue into beating muscle
Hearts could be made to mend themselves after scientists discovered a way of transforming ordinary tissue into beating muscle cells.
The revolutionary treatment works by coaxing stem cells to develop into cardiac cells.
Around 700,000 people in Britain suffer from heart failure because the organ has virtually no ability to repair itself after an attack.
Scientists believe revolutionary research into stem cells could help damaged hearts fix themselves
But scientists in China have unearthed a family of molecules that can transform stem cells into beating heart muscle cells.
Scientists believe the discovery of cardionogen, published in the Journal of Chemistry & Biology, could pave the way to new treatment for heart disease.
Dr Tao Zhong, of Fudan University in Shanghai, who carried out the research, said: “Despite advances in medicine, management of myocardial infarction [heart attack] and heart failure remains a major challenge.
“Developing therapies that can stimulate heart muscle regeneration in areas of infarction would have enormous medical impact.”
Lab technicians in China are carrying out research on stem cells which could help beating heart muscle cells
Researchers tested the molecules on zebrafish, whose transparent embryos allow scientists to see cells during development.
They found the treatment enlarged the zebrafish heart by stimulating production of new cardiac muscle cells from stem cells. The same thing happened in tests on mice.
The next step is to test cardionogen on human cells, said Dr Zhong.