Embryonic Stem Cells Grow Into Heart Cells

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A joint team of Canadian, US and British scientists successfully conducted a laboratory trial of turning human embryonic stem cells into main heart cells.

Scientists supplied embryonic stem cell cultures with a mixture of growth factors. These growth factors were carefully selected to encourage stem cell to grow into immature heart tissue. Three types of important cardiac cells were successfully created in a lab test: cardiomyocytes, endothelial, and vascular smooth muscle cells. The first cells are muscle cells responsible for heart beat. The next to types of cells are making blood vessels.

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Scientists also tried to transplant newly created heart cells into mice which have been previously stimulated to have a heart disease. Mice showed to be recovering from the disease thanks to transplanted cardiac cells.

The study is leading to a totally new approach for treating damaged hearts. Those with cardiovascular diseases will significantly benefit if this method receives further approval for human use. Damaged heart cells may be easily recovered thanks to this innovation.

Another important use of this method is a laboratory use of embryonic stem cell created heart cells, when scientists will be able to try newly developing drugs on heart cells to see how efficient and safe these drugs are, before trying the drugs on patients.

Dr Anthony Mathur from London NHS Trust said: "It's about using the patient's own cells to see if they can repair the damage that the heart attack has caused. The dream is to turn the clock back, to restore heart function to what it was before the heart attack. It would be a fantastic achievement."

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