Science Daily — In a study using human muscle tissue, scientists in Children’s Stem Cell Research Center – led by Johnny Huard, PhD, and Bruno Péault, PhD – isolated and characterized stem cells taken from blood vessels (known as myoendothelial cells) that are easily isolated using cell-sorting techniques, proliferate rapidly and can be differentiated in the laboratory into muscle, bone and cartilage cells.
These characteristics may make them ideally suited as a potential therapy for muscle injuries and diseases, according to Drs. Huard and Péault.
The idea is to take a patient’s cells, or those from a compatible donor, and persuade them to grow into new heart components that could then be used instead of transplants…
Professor Yacoub, a leading transplant surgeon, said: “Currently people suffering from heart valve disease can be treated with artificial replacement valves – they do the job and save people’s lives but they are far from perfect. Although there has been huge progress in developing mechanical replacements, they still work mechanically and not physiologically – they cannot match the elegant sophisticated functions of living tissues.”
Using stem cells and tissue engineering, bioengineers could repair faulty valves or heart muscle damaged by a heart attack, providing a “like for like” match that would grow and repair in the same way as heart tissue.