Discovery of a master cardiac stem cell that appears to give rise to all the major parts of the heart, stem cell treatments for coronary disease will establish another major step in the medical science.
Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Cardiovascular Research Center have discovered what appears to be a master cardiac stem cell, capable of differentiating into the three major types of cells that make up the mammalian heart.
In their report appearing in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Cell and receiving early online release, the scientists describe identifying these progenitor cells in mice, cloning single cells from embryonic stem cells, and showing that these cloned cells can differentiate into cardiac muscle, smooth muscle or endothelial cells.
In a pioneering move, doctors in the UK are planning to treat heart attack patients with stem cells taken from their own bone marrow.
The 50 patients will have the cells injected into their hearts within the critical five hours after suffering a heart attack.
Two teams at the London Chest Hospital and London Heart Hospital will carry out the procedures.