Using a child's own stem cells to repair their heart looks promising

Jan 27, 2011

Visionaries in the field of cardiac therapeutics have long looked to the future when a damaged heart could be rebuilt or repaired by using one's own heart cells. A study published in the February issue of Circulation, a scientific journal of the American Heart Association, shows that heart stem cells from children with congenital heart disease were able to rebuild the damaged heart in an animal model.

Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD, surgeon in the Division of Cardiovascular Thoracic Surgery at Children's Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who headed the study, believes these results show great promise for the growing number of children with congenital heart problems. With this potential therapy option they could avoid the need for a heart transplant.

"Because of the advances in surgical and medical therapies, many children born with cardiomyopathy and other are living longer but may eventually succumb to heart failure," said Kaushal. "This project has generated important pre-clinical laboratory data showing that we may be able to use their own heart stem cells to rebuild their hearts, allowing these children to live longer and have more productive lives."

Cells were obtained from patients with ages ranging a few days after birth to 13 years who were undergoing routine congenital cardiac surgery. Findings show that the number of heart stem cells, or human cardiac (hCPCs), was greatest in neonates and then rapidly decreased with age, and that the highest numbers of these are located in the upper right chamber of the heart, or the right atrium. The study also showed that the hCPCs are functional and have the potential for use in repairing the damaged heart.

Up until now, heart stem cell studies have addressed the adult diseased heart, but this is the first systematic study to focus on children.

"Heart disease in children is different than heart disease in adults," said Kaushal. "Whereas adults might suffer heart failure from a stroke, in children occurs mostly because they are born with cardiomyopathy or other conditions in which the vessels of the heart chambers are small or in the wrong position causing pumping problems. The potential of cardiac stem cell therapy for children is truly exciting." said Kaushal.

Pending FDA approval, Kaushal hopes to begin clinical trials with children in the fall. The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Thoracic Surgical Foundation for Research and Education, the Children's Heart Foundation and the North Suburban Medical Research Junior Board.

Explore further: US scientists make embryonic stem cells from adult skin

More information: To access the article on line go to: circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.971622v1?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Mishra&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

Provided by Children's Memorial Hospital

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stem cells to be injected into the heart

Aug 26, 2005

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center will begin a clinical trial to determine the feasibility of injecting a patient's own stem cells into the heart.

Heart derived stem cells develop into heart muscle

Apr 23, 2008

Dutch researchers at University Medical Center Utrecht and the Hubrecht Institute have succeeded in growing large numbers of stem cells from adult human hearts into new heart muscle cells. A breakthrough in stem cell research. ...

Stem cell regeneration repairs congenital heart defect

Sep 11, 2008

Mayo Clinic investigators have demonstrated that stem cells can be used to regenerate heart tissue to treat dilated cardiomyopathy, a congenital defect. Publication of the discovery was expedited by the editors of Stem Ce ...

Stem cells to repair damaged heart muscle

Jun 22, 2007

In the first trial of its kind in the world, 60 patients who have recently suffered a major heart attack will be injected with selected stem cells from their own bone marrow during routine coronary bypass surgery.

Adult pig stem cells repair heart damage

Nov 14, 2006

U.S. scientists have successfully grown large numbers of stem cells from adult pigs' heart tissue and used the cells to repair heart attack damage.

Recommended for you

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...

New pain relief targets discovered

Apr 17, 2014

Scientists have identified new pain relief targets that could be used to provide relief from chemotherapy-induced pain. BBSRC-funded researchers at King's College London made the discovery when researching ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Cancer stem cells linked to drug resistance

Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered ...

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.