A new medical breakthrough may revolutionize treatment of patients with myocardial infarction. Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes replaced in mice modelsÂ dead tissue with viable tissue after aÂ miocardial infarction. The discovery was announced recently in the latest issue of Nature. Experiments on regenerative medicine started long ago, but until now researchers have notÂ managed to translate many of theirÂ findings onÂ mouse models.
The experiment may have multiple implications regarding treatment after stroke. Dr. SrivastavaÂ explains that once deprived of oxygen, theÂ heart muscle can not be revived and dies.Â The occlusionÂ of a vesselÂ that supplysÂ blood theÂ heart leads to ischemia and ultimatelyÂ to aÂ heartÂ attack which results in the death ofÂ the myocardial tissue. That portion of theÂ heart muscleÂ supplied by the vessel will not participate in contraction, which means that the heart may not function properly. The main treatment applied after a heart attack is coronary angioplasty, recanalization of the obstructed vessel thatÂ determined theÂ infarction. In other words, the blocked vessel is opened with a balloon , then a stent is installed. Although this procedure can save lives,Â it should be mentioned that angioplasty is performed 4-6 hours after stroke. It is therefore necessary for the patient to arrive as soon as possible toÂ the hospital. Otherwise the heart tissue dies.Â The main complication that can occur after a heart attack is heart failureÂ as the heart can no longer exerciseÂ its function asÂ a Â pump. Patients with heart failureÂ present dyspnea (shortness of breath),Â and can notÂ lead a normal life. The only solution here is heart transplantation.Â Drugs can not cure heart failureÂ and only relieve the symptoms.
Dr. SrivastavaÂ stated thatÂ experimentsÂ conducted onÂ mice areÂ clear evidence that they can make the dead tissue in viable tissue able to contract. He also said that thisÂ is a less invasive method that can restore heart function after aÂ myocardial infarction.
The experiment was conducted on rats with myocardial infarction who were injected three genes (GMT) responsible for development of embryonic stem cells into heart cells. The researchers found that after one monthÂ the initially dead cells were transformed into cells that were able toÂ contract. Moreover, after three months laterÂ these cells had a capacity of contraction even greaterÂ than normal.
Researchers now hope to translate the experiment toÂ mammals and eventually humans. Moreover, they think to find a treatment for other diseases currently incurable spinal cord injury such as, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.