Potential heart benefit found in stem cells

ATLANTA, GA (March 12, 2006) -- Stem cell transplantation is among one of the most exciting and hotly debated areas of medical research today. While the promise of personalized medicine and effective treatments for debilitating diseases drive progress in this area, moral and ethical dilemmas about embryonic cells continues to cloud the field. In research presented today at the American College of Cardiology's 55th Annual Scientific Session, scientists continue to explore mature stem cell sources for potentially significant cardiovascular benefits. ACC.06 is the premier cardiovascular medical meeting, bringing together over 30,000 cardiologists to further breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine.

"We hope that the exploration of stem cells derived from new sources may bypass some of the debate that is preventing research progress right now," said Sharon A. Hunt, M.D., Stanford University. "The research presented here is extremely promising, and should be followed by more in-depth and patient-focused studies to determine the true feasibility of this treatment method."

Human Menstrual Blood Derived Stem Cell Has a High Cardiomyogenic Potential; Possible New Cell Source for Cardiac Stem Cell Therapy (Abstract 921-105) / Human Umbilical Cord Blood Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell Has A Powerful Cardiomyogenic Potential in Vitro; A Novel Cell Source for Cardiac Stem Cell Based Therapy (Abstract 921-107)

Some previous research on the efficacy of stem cell therapy for heart repair has shown benefit from mesenchymal stem cells (often found in bone marrow), but mostly because assist in the growth of new blood vessels. The true benefit of stem cells to heart function, however, may be in promoting cardiomyogenesis (CM, the growth of cardiac muscle). To achieve CM, the source of the cells needs a high rate of cardiac activity and similar gene and protein expression. In two studies presented from researchers at the Keio University School of


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