Monday January 21, 2019

Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Heart-Failure

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

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heart-rate, inflammation
Higher levels of inflammation may in turn increase risk for heart diseases (IANS)

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.

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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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Here’s How Turmeric Helps Heart Failure Patients

The results showed that the expression of Nrf2 increased and levels of antioxidant enzymes improved in the animals with heart failure that were given curcumin

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer
How turmeric helps heart failure patients? Find it out here. Pixabay

Curcumin — the active compound in turmeric — may repair exercise intolerance faced by patients with heart failure, suggests a new research.

People with heart failure have a reduced function of the left ventricle — the chamber of the heart that pumps blood out to the rest of the body — called reduced ejection fraction. This is linked to decreased ability to exercise.

The findings showed that curcumin treatment improved muscle function, exercise capacity in mice with heart failure and healthy controls.

Curcumin, a chemical that comes from the turmeric plant, has been used as a traditional Asian medicine for centuries, primarily to treat gastrointestinal ailments and skin wounds.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska in the US, theorised that a reduction in the normal signalling of a protein Nrf2 may play a role in the impaired expression of antioxidant enzymes.

 

Healthy Indian foods
Turmeric (Wikimedia)

The antioxidant enzymes both prevent and repair damage from oxidative stress as well as improve exercise performance.

For the study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, the team gave one group of mice with heart failure daily doses of curcumin — which is known to promote activation of Nrf2 — for 12 weeks, while another group did not receive treatment.

The results showed that the expression of Nrf2 increased and levels of antioxidant enzymes improved in the animals with heart failure that were given curcumin.

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In addition, both groups that received curcumin — even the animals without heart failure — had improved exercise capacity when compared with the untreated groups, suggesting the effects of curcumin on skeletal muscle is not exclusive to heart failure.

“These data suggest that activation of Nrf2 in skeletal muscle may represent a novel therapeutic strategy to improve … quality of life” in people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, the researchers noted. (IANS)