Heart Failure Patients Hold New Hope : According to a recently published study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and reported by the American Heart Association, damaged heart tissue taken from elderly mice, pigs and people already in heart failure was successfully rejuvenated by a technique using modified stem cells.
The research holds tremendous potential and may soon lead to new therapies for heart failure patients, both pets and people.
A small sample of the diseased heart tissue was taken by a biopsy from each patient, modified by adding a protein called PIM-1and transplanted back into each individual. Within just 4 weeks, new heart tissue cell growth was detected. The new heart or cardiac cells turned out to be normal, in both structure and function.
Basically, scientists took degenerated, diseased heart cells, rejuvenated them with PIM-1 which made them healthier then transplanted them back into each patient.
PIM-1 is a protein that promotes cell growth and survival by increasing the activity of an enzyme called telomerase that lengthens chromosomes by preventing segments called telomeres from shrinking in length and falling off the end(s)of the chromosome. Telomere’s are small caps located at the ends of each chromosome responsible for facilitating cell growth and replication. When telomeres breaks off from the end(s) of chromosomes, the cell or cells in question, in this case heart cells, age, become diseased and die.
Although this study was limited to a small group of individuals this veterinarian and author feel this technique holds tremendous promise for heart failure patients both human and animal.
Potentially making stem cell engineering is a viable option, especially exciting for heart failure patients in this case, because the PIM-1 modification offers a significant advance in our ability as practitioners to offer clinical treatment in humans, dogs and cats.