A new mouse study using stem cells has shed light on a possible treatment for heart attack patients.
By repairing damaged cardiac tissue, the approach could potentially improve cardiac function, minimise scar size and develop new blood vessels, while avoiding the risk of tissue rejection.
Researchers isolated and characterised a new cardiac stem cell from the heart tissue of middle-aged mice following a heart attack and placed the cells into a culture dish to differentiate beating heart cells, endothelial cells and smooth muscles cells, which make up the heart.
They then made clones of cells and engrafted them into the tissue of mice that had experienced heart attacks.
It was found that the cells stimulated blood vessel growth or differentiated into endothelial and smooth muscle cells.
Dr Jianqin Ye, first author of the study, explained that this is the "the safest way of obtaining cells from the heart of live patients, and is relatively easy to perform."
Heart attacks are one of the most common causes of death in the UK among older adults.
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