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Stem cells will help recover hearts with chronic myocardial infarction

Korean scientists from Seoul University suggested a new way to restore heart function of patients suffering from chronic myocardial infarction. Regeneration of heart tissues in patients with chronic myocardial infarction is much more complicated compared with acute form of myocardial infarction (heart attack).

To make the recovery possible for patients with chronic myocardial infarction, the scientists suggested using injections of bio-gel containing patients’ own stem cells and substances produced by stem cells. Among these are stromal stem cell homing factor (SDF- 1) and angiogenic peptides (Ac-SDKP) dissolved in the gel.

To evaluate the impact of gel injections on the ability of stem cells to graft in the place of damage and form new blood vessels and tissues, the model of chronic myocardial injection was used. The gel containing stem cells and the mentioned factors was injected into the damaged area of the left ventricle.

As a result of the treatment, 4 weeks later the researchers reported significant improvement of the left ventricle function, increased angiogenesis (forming of new blood vessels), decreased damaged area and strengshened left ventricle wall.

The study results showed that gel injections significantly accelerated regeneration of myocardial tissue, formation of functional blood vessels and improved cardiac function in chronic myocardial infarction model.

The method is believed to be safe as it uses patients’ own stem cells to regenerate heart cells thus unaling any side effects, in particular, graft vs host disease.