Sunday July 22, 2018

Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Heart-Failure

For the study, the team induced experimental heart attacks in macaque monkeys

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Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Heart-Failure
Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Heart-Failure. (IANS)
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Stem cells may potentially be used as a “one-and-done” approach to restore function in people with heart-failure, a study has found.

Reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the study showed human stem cell treatment can possibly return the hearts’ functioning to better than 90 per cent of normal in macaque monkeys with heart attacks.

Heart-failure that causes nearly 10 million deaths worldwide, is a condition caused by lack of blood flow. The stem cells will help “form new muscle that will integrate into heart so it may pump vigorously again,” said Charles “Chuck” Murry, Professor at the University of Washington.

“Our findings show that human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes can re-muscularise infarcts in macaque monkey hearts and, in doing so, reduce scar size and restore a significant amount of heart function. This should give hope to people with heart disease,” Murry said.

For the study, the team induced experimental heart attacks in macaque monkeys.

Two weeks later, the researchers took heart cells that they had grown from embryonic human embryonic stem cells and injected them into and around the young scar tissue. Each animal received roughly 750 million of these human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

heart beat rate
Representational image. Pixabay

At four weeks after treatment, the ejection fraction in the treated animals rose to 49.7 per cent, about half-way back to normal, as compared to the untreated control animals, which remained unchanged at about 40 per cent.

MRI scans showed that new heart muscle had grown within what had been scar tissue in the treated hearts, while no new muscle was seen in the untreated animals.

Moreover, the human heart cells had also formed new muscle tissue in the damaged region. The new muscle tissue had replaced 10 per cent to 29 per cent of the scar tissue, integrated with the surrounding healthy tissue and developed into mature heart cells, the researchers said.

Also Read: Virtual Reality Tech Transforming Heart Treatments

Murry said that the research aims to develop a treatment that could be given to people shortly after a heart attack to prevent heart failure.

Because heart cells are long-lived there should be no need for additional treatments, he said. The transplanted stem cells would also be genetically altered to reduce the risk of immune rejection, which often complicates organ transplantation.

“What we hope to do is create a “one-and-done” treatment with frozen “off-the-shelf” cells that, like O-negative blood, can go into any recipient with only moderate immune suppression,” Murry said. (IANS)

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New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure

The team found that the faulty titin gene may also play a role in the condition

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New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure
New Link Found Between Alcohol, Genes And Heart Failure. Pixabay

Even moderate level of alcohol consumption may worsen the condition of heart failure patients with a faulty versions of a gene called titin, new research has found.

Titin is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of the heart muscle. But faulty version of the gene may cause dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM)– a type of heart failure where the left ventricle becomes weak causing lessening the ability to pump blood.

“Our research strongly suggests alcohol and genetics are interacting — and genetic predisposition and alcohol consumption can act together to lead to heart failure,” said study co-author James Ware from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

For the first part of the study, the team analysed 141 patients with a type of heart failure called alcoholic cardiomyopathy (ACM) — a type of heart failure due to long term alcohol abuse which may trigger because of drinking more than 70 units a week (roughly seven bottles of wine) for five years or more.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The team found that the faulty titin gene may also play a role in the condition.

The results, published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed that 13.5 per cent of ACM patients carried the mutation — much higher than the proportion of people who carry them in the general population.

Ware explained that the condition is not simply the result of alcohol poisoning, but arises from a genetic predisposition and thus can put other family members at risk as well.

He added that relatives of patients with ACM should receive assessment and heart scans to see if they unknowingly carry the faulty gene.

Also Read: Alcoholic Beverages Aren’t That Good For You As You May Have Thought

In the second part, the team analysed 716 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy – a condition that causes the heart muscle to become stretched and thin.

The team found that in patients whose DCM was caused by the faulty titin gene, even moderately increased alcohol intake (defined as drinking above the weekly recommended limit of 14 units), affected the heart’s pumping power.

“Alcohol and the heart have a complicated relationship. While moderate levels may have benefits for heart health, too much can cause serious cardiac problems. This research suggests that in people with titin-related heart failure, alcohol may worsen the condition,” explained study co-author, Paul Barton from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial. (IANS)