Heart repair: The therapeutic approach allows for the growth of new heart cells
dies after one Heart attack The tissue in the heart vanishes, the human body can no longer replace it. A new treatment should make this possible heart to form new cells again can repair the damage.
researchers of Technical University of Munich they presented a new approach that allows the heart to exist cardiac progenitor cells Repaired areas damaged after a heart attack. In this way, hearts could recover after a cardiovascular event. The results were recently presented in the renowned journal “Nature Cell Biology”.
18 million deaths from heart disease every year
cardiovascular disease provide by far the most common cause of death in humans According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), they die every year around the world nearly 18 million people from heart disease.
After a heart attack, the heart remains permanently weak
After a heart attack, the heart often remains permanently weakened. Heart cells that die during a heart attack cannot be replaced by the body. Instead, fibers (accumulations of scar tissue) form in damaged areas, which further damage the heart.
If the damage caused by heart attacks could be reversed, numerous secondary diseases such as heart failure could be avoided.
Can a heart be repaired?
As the international research team reports, a new therapeutic approach could restore heart function. The team around the professor of cardiology uses Karl-Ludwig Laugwitz cardiac progenitor cells (HVP), which are instrumental in the heart formation involved.
The result of two decades of research
The different cell types of the heart muscle are formed by HVPs. The team has now succeeded in producing large quantities of such cardiac progenitor cells from human embryonic stem cells.
“Here we see the result of two decades of research in which we searched for the ‘ideal cell’ to rebuild the heart muscle”underlines prof Kenneth R. Chien from Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Cardiac progenitor cells become functional cardiac cells
“In laboratory experiments, we were able to show how cardiac progenitor cells can, to some extent, detect damaged areas in the heart, migrate there in a targeted manner, and differentiate into functional cardiac cells.”added Professor Laugwitz.
“They also actively prevent scar tissue formation by fighting fibroblasts, the cells that build the structure for unused connective tissue.”according to the director of the study.
Already tested on pig hearts
In pigs, the team has already tested how effective the new approach is for regenerating heart damage caused by HVPs. As part of the present study, the researchers showed that damage to the heart reliable and without serious side effects can be repaired.
Since pig hearts are very similar to humans, these experiments form the basis for testing the new therapy in humans.
“After the treatment, we witnessed the formation of new heart tissue, the improvement of heart function and the reduction of scar tissue.”confirms dr. Regina Fritsche-Danielson from the study group.
Immune cells can attack new heart cells
At present, the recipient’s immune system must be ignored to prevent immune cells from attacking new heart cells. In the coming months and years, the working group wants to make this step superfluous with the so-called hypoimmunogenic lines of HVP.
A milestone in heart failure therapy
The scientists involved have set themselves the goal of starting clinical trials in humans within the next two years.
“The new findings on the therapeutic use of cardiac progenitor cells represent a milestone in the treatment of patients with severe heart failure”emphasizes research director Laugwitz.
According to him, particularly older people with comorbidities, for whom severe heart surgery would be too costly, could benefit from cardiac progenitor cell therapy. (vb)
Information on the author and source
This text corresponds to the requirements of the specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical professionals.
Graduate Publisher (FH) Volker Blasek
- Technical University of Munich: A repair program for the heart (published: 05/12/2022), tum.de
- Poch, CM, Foo, KS, De Angelis, MT et al. Migratory and antifibrotic programs define the regenerative potential of human cardiac progenitors; in: Natural Cell Biology (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41556-022-00899-8, natura.com
This article contains general advice only and is not to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.