Growing Heart Is Possible

It will be soon possible to treat heart attacks without any operations

Optimistic forecasts about cell therapy opportunities keep getting more and more real. Scientists from the Harvard University informed of a unique experiment to grow one-fifth lost part of a heart. For the time being, scientists managed to grow a heart of a fish. However, the principles that scientists used in their research, are universal for every living being.

As it is well known, a scar, or conjunctive tissue, appears on a spot of those heart cells that die because of a heart attack. However, a human body has certain regeneration genes, which are capable of treating such a defect. One of those genes is in charge of the special enzyme production – it stimulates the cell division. If the gene is “silent,” regeneration does not happen. Scientists have not identified this important gene for a human being yet. However, they managed to decode the genome of a little aquarium zebrafish danio rerio.

Scientists tried to activate the regeneration gene of a zerbafish in order to stimulate the cell division on a spot of a heart muscle defect. One-fifth part of the fish’s heart was cut off. Then scientists activated the gene, which spurred on the cell division cycle. Two weeks after the operation, heart cells started their division process in a very active way, and the muscle was restored completely in two months.

Probably, this method will be widely used for the science of cardiology in the future. Other methods of cell therapy are used in the science now too.

Several operations with the use of implanted cells have been recently performed in the Russian Scientific Institute of Cardiology. Two of those operations were performed on human babies that were born with severe heart diseases. Implanted  muscle cells are capable of accelerating the recovery of a surgical wound. Scientists believe that the given method will be used in the medicine of the future. Some doctors say that one day people will learn how to treat heart attacks without any operation at all.

Lancet magazine has recently published an article about the implantation of cells during an aortic-coronary shunting operation. Doctors took cells from the marrow of their patient and then injected them in the area between healthy and deteriorated tissues of the patient’s heart. Doctors noticed that the blood nutrition and the activity of the heart muscle improved considerably after the operation. The recovery process was a lot faster in comparison with other heart patients.

Japanese doctors used marrow cells for treating heart deficiency without any operation. They used a catheter that was put in a heart of a patient. The results of that operation were very optimistic. It is not ruled out that those technologies will become rather common for the science of cardiology.



Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Olga Savka