Bioengineers and surgeons from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) have shown that shielding stem cells with a novel biomaterial improve the cells' ability to heal heart injuries caused by heart attacks.
In a study using rodents, a team led by Rice's Dr. Omid Veiseh and Baylor's Ravi Ghanta showed it could make capsules of wound-healing mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and implant them next to wounded hearts using minimally invasive techniques. Within four weeks, heart-healing was 2.5 times greater in animals treated with shielded stem cells than those treated with nonshielded stem cells, the researchers found.
Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds in the United States. In each case, an artery that supplies blood to the heart becomes blocked and heart muscle tissue dies due to lack of blood. Hearts damaged by heart attacks pump less efficiently, and scar tissue from heart attack wounds can further reduce heart function.
Dr. Omid Veiseh is on the show today to tell us more about these findings.
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