Posted by: Tony Carson | 27 August, 2007

“Thrilling:” Stems cells repair heart in major breakthrough

In a major scientific advance, U.S. researchers have used human embryonic stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue in rats that had suffered cardiac arrests.

The “thrilling” accomplishment, released in a study yesterday, seems to overcome two of the most persistent and perplexing hurdles that have thwarted use of the promising embryonic cells for organ repair.

“One was how to coax the human embryonic stem cell to turn into (heart) cells,” says Dr. Charles Murry, director of cardiovascular biology at the University of Washington’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. The other was to keep them alive after transplantation.

“Embryonic stem cells can turn into hundreds of different cell types and the trick was to turn them into the cell type of interest, to the exclusion of all this other stuff. It’s like getting the roulette ball to go into the right slot in the wheel.”

The study was published yesterday in the journal Nature Biotechnology

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The Toronto Star has the full story Stem cell transplant advance ‘thrilling’.

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