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Delivering Stem Cells Into Heart Muscle May Improve Cardiac Repair And Reverse Injury: Study

Update Date: Nov 20, 2014 01:07 PM EST

Delivering stem cell factor directly into damaged heart muscle after a heart attack may help repair and regenerate injured tissue, suggests a new study.

"Our discoveries offer insight into the power of stem cells to regenerate damaged muscle after a heart attack," said lead study author Kenneth Fish, PhD, Director of the Cardiology Laboratory for Translational Research, Cardiovascular Research Center, Mount Sinai Heart, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in the press release.

To test the regenerative repair response, researchers administered stem cell factor (SCF) by gene transfer shortly after inducing heart attacks in pre-clinical models directly into damaged heart tissue. A novel SCF gene transfer delivery system induced the recruitment and expansion of adult c-Kit positive (cKit+) cardiac stem cells to injury sites that reversed heart attack damage, the press release said. 

"It is clear that the expression of the stem cell factor gene results in the generation of specific signals to neighboring cells in the damaged heart resulting in improved outcomes at the molecular, cellular, and organ level," said Roger J. Hajjar, MD, senior study author and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Mount Sinai, in the press release.

"Thus, while still in the early stages of investigation, there is evidence that recruiting this small group of stem cells to the heart could be the basis of novel therapies for halting the clinical deterioration in patients with advanced heart failure."

The study will be presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2014 in Chicago, IL.

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