Scientists reported that injured hearts can be healed by transplanted
adult stem cells. In their study, the researchers of the University of
Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, used innovative imaging techniques to
track the stem cells' location and performance over time.
In a mice study scientists found that human adult stem cells injected
around the damage in the heart (usually caused by a heart attack) lead to improving of the pumping efficiency.
The senior author of the study, Dr. Edward T. H. Yeh, noticed that
injection of a patient's own adult stem cells into the heart has shown
some efficacy in assisting recovery after a heart attack in early
human clinical trials. But till now nobody knows how these stem cells
work, or how long they function in the heart. This study has shown
only how one type of adult stem cell worked.
The research of the whole team focused on adult stem cells that
circulated in the blood and were distinguished by the presence of the
CD34 protein on the cell surface. These stem cells can differentiate
into a limited variety of tissues.The CD34-positive cells usually
differentiate into blood vessel cells and are also known as endothelial
Earlier research by Yeh and his colleagues showed CD34-positive were
capable of becoming heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, blood
vessel cells and smooth muscle cells.