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14 December 2010
Research out today from Liverpool John Moores University and partly funded by the BHF shows that some stem cells can act as protectors to heart cells, improving their survival when cultured in the lab.
Stem cells are thought to have huge potential for heart attack treatment as they may be able to turn into healthy heart cells and replace dead tissue.
This research adds to previous studies suggesting that they might also be useful for stopping heart cells dying in the first place.
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director here at the BHF said:
Stem cells could well hold the key to transforming heart attack treatment
“These researchers discovered that in the lab, heart cells survived for longer when exposed to a chemical factor produced by stem cells found in adult heart. The research used rat cells. This adds to the evidence that stem cells may be able to act as ‘guardians’ of the heart when it’s injured by a heart attack, without necessarily replacing damaged cells.
“This is such an important area of research, because stem cells could well hold the key to transforming heart attack treatment and the prognosis of those at risk of heart failure. However, the science is still in its infancy and lots more research is needed before we can safely and effectively translate regenerative medicine from the lab bench to the bedside.”
The research was published in journal PLOS One