Page URL:

Embryonic stem cells repair sheep hearts

19 September 2005
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 326

French scientists have used mouse embryonic stem cells (ES cells) to repair damaged heart muscle in sheep. The team, based at the National Center for Scientific Research in Montpellier, successfully transplanted ES cells into nine animals. One month after the procedure, the treated sheep had healthier heart tissue than sheep that had not received the cells, say the scientists, who published their findings in the Lancet. The study suggests that ES cell transplants could one day be used to treat damaged heart muscle in humans.

Many researchers hope that stem cells can be used to develop new treatments for the damage caused by heart attacks. Trials are currently underway to test the ability of adult bone marrow stem cells to regenerate heart tissue. However, it is not known how useful this approach will prove to be, since there is controversy over whether these stem cells can really grow into new heart cells.

Previous research has shown that ES cells can repair heart damage in rodents. To see if ES cells are capable of repairing heart damage in larger mammals, the French team first induced heart attacks in 18 sheep. Two weeks later, they injected about 30 million mouse ES cells into the damaged hearts of nine of the animals. One month after the injections, they found that the hearts of the treated sheep could pump blood 15 per cent more efficiently than the hearts of the untreated sheep.

The team found no evidence that the transplanted mouse cells were being rejected by the sheeps' immune systems - a promising and encouraging sign, according to UK developmental biologist Robin Lovell-Badge. However, he cautioned that the treated animals were only followed up for one month, which might not have been long enough to detect signs of rejection. Team member Michel Puceat says that the group are now testing the ability of human ES cells to repair heart damage in baboons.

Team leader Philippe Menasche says the study shows the potential value of ES cells for repairing damaged hearts. 'These stem cells were able to become heart cells and improve heart function', he said, adding 'it is an additional step, not toward a clinical application, but in favour of the concept that it is probably worthwhile to consider embryonic stem cells for clinical repair'.

Embryonic stem cells repair broken hearts
New Scientist |  16 September 2005
Mouse stem cells heal sheep hearts
Nature News |  16 September 2005
Mouse Stem Cells Repair Sheeps' Hearts
HealthDay News |  16 September 2005
26 July 2005 - by BioNews 
Doctors think they are close to treating heart attack victims with stem cells, after promising results in trials using pigs. A Phase I clinical trial on 48 patients is set to begin soon in the US to test the safety of the procedure in humans. The procedure involves injecting people...
11 October 2004 - by BioNews 
Injecting embryonic stem (ES) cells into mouse embryos can correct serious heart defects, US scientists say. The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Science, also found that injecting ES cells into healthy female mice could prevent the same defect appearing in some of their future offspring. It seems...
9 July 2004 - by BioNews 
Stem cells boost the recovery of damaged hearts, German researchers have found. A report, published in the journal The Lancet, reveals that stem cells taken from the bone marrow increase the efficiency of hearts that have been damaged by heart attacks. The way in which this works still remains unclear...
10 May 2004 - by BioNews 
A new US study calls into question the existence of adult stem cells capable of transforming into insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Previous research in mice has suggested that such cells could be used to develop new treatments for diabetes. But the new study, carried out by scientists at Harvard University in...
29 April 2004 - by BioNews 
Patients with heart failure could one day be treated with injections of their own stem cells, according to new US trials that provide the 'first convincing evidence' that such an approach might work. Previous studies have produced conflicting results, and some researchers have questioned whether stem cell therapies for failing...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.