Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Duke Team Turns Scar Tissue into Heart Muscle Without Using Stem Cells

Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Scientists at Duke University Medical Center have shown the ability to turn scar tissue that forms after a heart attack into heart muscle cells using a new process that eliminates the need for stem cell transplant.

The study, published online April 26 in the journal Circulation Research, used molecules called microRNAs to trigger the cardiac tissue conversion in a lab dish and, for the first time, in a living mouse, demonstrating the potential of a simpler process for tissue regeneration.

If additional studies confirm the approach in human cells, it could lead to a new way for treating many of the 23 million people worldwide who suffer heart failure, which is often caused by scar tissue that develops after a heart attack. The approach could also have benefit beyond heart disease.

"This is a significant finding with many therapeutic implications," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, a senior author on the study who is James B. Duke professor of medicine and chancellor of health affairs at Duke University. "If you can do this in the heart, you can do it in the brain, the kidneys, and other tissues. This is a whole new way of regenerating tissue."

To initiate the regeneration, Dzau's team at Duke used microRNAs, which are molecules that serve as master regulators controlling the activity of multiple genes. Tailored in a specific combination, the microRNAs were delivered into scar tissue cells called fibroblasts, which develop after a heart attack and impair the organ's ability to pump blood.

Once deployed, the microRNAs reprogrammed fibroblasts to become cells resembling the cardiomyocytes that make up heart muscle. The Duke team not only proved this concept in the laboratory, but also demonstrated that the cell conversion could occur inside the body of a mouse -- a major requirement for regenerative medicine to become a potential therapy.

"This is one of the exciting things about our study," said Maria Mirotsou, PhD, assistant professor of cardiology at Duke and a senior author of the study. "We were able to achieve this tissue conversion in the heart with these microRNAs, which may be more practical for direct delivery into cells and allow for possible development of therapies without using genetic methods or transplantation of stem cells."

The researchers said using microRNA for tissue regeneration has several potential advantages over genetic methods or transplantation of stem cells, which have been difficult to manage inside the body. Notably, the microRNA process eliminates technical problems such as genetic alterations, while also avoiding the ethical dilemmas posed by stem cells.

"It's an exciting stage for reprogramming science," said Tilanthi M. Jayawardena, PhD, first author of the study. "It's a very young field, and we're all learning what it means to switch a cell's fate. We believe we've uncovered a way for it to be done, and that it has a lot of potential."

The approach will now be tested in larger animals. Dzau said therapies could be developed within a decade if additional studies advance in larger animals and humans.

"We have proven the concept," Dzau said. "This is the very early stage, and we have only shown that is it doable in an animal model. Although that's a very big step, we're not there yet for humans."

In addition to Dzau, Mirotsou and Jayawardena, study authors include: Bakytbek Egemnazarov; Elizabeth A. Finch; Lunan Zhang; Kumar Pandya; J. Alan Payne; Zhiping Zhang; and Paul Rosenberg.

Funding for the study was provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; the Edna and Fred L. Mandel Jr. Foundation; the Foundation Leducq; Mirotsou is supported by the American Heart Association National Scientist Development Award; Rosenberg is supported by the NIH.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,400+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Tetanus Shot Improves Patient Survival With Brain Tumor Immunotherapy
Study shows patient survival increased when the immune system was primed with a tetanus booster.
Friday, March 13, 2015
New Biomarker Predicts Response to Hepatitis C Treatment
Newly identified genetic marker that predicts response to hepatitis C treatments may also explain difference in rates of response among racial and ethnic groups.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Key to Treating Cancer May be Finding its Original Cell
Cancer biologists are turning their attention to learn how tumor growth might be stopped at the earliest opportunity.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
One Missing Gene Leads to Fruitless Mating Rituals
Male fruit flies missing a gene for one particular odor receptor become clueless in matters of love, Duke researchers discovered.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Duke Scientists Show Why Cells Starved of Iron Burn More Sugar
Scientists have found a metabolic reshuffling mechanism that helps explain how humans respond to iron deficiency, and may help with diabetes research.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Duke Researchers Discover Virus Using Same Tools as Host Cell
The virus which causes Kaposi's sarcoma encodes a molecule for controlling gene regulation nearly identical to one found normally in human cells.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Gender and Stress Alter Depression Rates among People with Common Genetic Variant
Duke researchers have found a common variation in genes puts women who are under chronic stress at risk for increased depressive symptoms, but has the exact opposite effect in men.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Imaging Stem Cell Division Helps Identify Cancer Treatment Targets
Using a novel method for seeing the division of stem cells in real time, Duke researchers believe they have identified an unexpected way to interfere with the uncontrolled cell growth that is characteristic of cancer.
Friday, November 16, 2007
First new Multiple Sclerosis Gene Found in 30 Years
A newly identified gene may hold the promise of guiding future research into therapies for multiple sclerosis.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Study Suggests Breast Cancer Drug may Protect Heart
Duke researchers have opened up a new way to screen drugs for possible heart-related side effects and to develop new drugs.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Woven Scaffolds Could Improve Cartilage Repair
Duke University researchers have created a three-dimensional fabric scaffold that could improve the ability of physicians to repair damaged joints with the patient's own stem cells.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Stem Cell Activity Deciphered in the Aging Brain
Scientists say finding made in rodents refutes current ideas on how long crucial "progenitor" stem cells persist in the aging brain.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Key Immune Cells Predict Recurrence in Lung Cancer Patients
Researchers found that the more T-regulatory cells and the fewer T-cell lymphocytes present in the tumors of treated patients, the greater the likelihood the cancer would recur.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Key to Zebrafish Heart Regeneration Uncovered
Key growth factors facilitate the interaction between the cell mass and the protective covering, encouraging the formation of new heart muscle.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Cancer Stem Cells Linked to Radiation Resistance
Researchers identified a method that appears to block the cells' ability to activate the repair switch following radiation treatment.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Scientific News
Study Finds Brain Chemicals that Keep Wakefulness in Check
Researchers to develop new drugs that promote better sleep, or control hyperactivity in people with mania.
Sorting Through Cellular Statistics
Aaron Dinner, professor in chemistry, and his graduate student Herman Gudjonson are trying to read the manual of life, DNA, as part of the Dinner group’s research into bioinformatics—the application of statistics to biological research.
Playing 'Tag' with Pollution lets Scientists See Who's It
Using a climate model that can tag sources of soot from different global regions and can track where it lands on the Tibetan Plateau, researchers have determined which areas around the plateau contribute the most soot — and where.
Women’s Immune System Genes Operate Differently from Men’s
A new technology reveals that immune system genes switch on and off differently in women and men, and the source of that variation is not primarily in the DNA.
Long Telomeres Associated with Increased Lung Cancer Risk
Genetic predisposition for long telomeres predicts increased lung adenocarcinoma risk.
First Artificial Ribosome Designed
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins and enzymes within the cell.
High-Resolution 3D Images Reveal the Muscle Mitochondrial Power Grid
NIH mouse study overturns scientific ideas on energy distribution in muscle.
Expanding the Brain
A team of researchers has identified more than 40 new “imprinted” genes, in which either the maternal or paternal copy of a gene is expressed while the other is silenced.
Identifying a Key Growth Factor in Cell Proliferation
Researchers discover that aspartate is a limiter of cell proliferation.
Study Uncovers Target for Preventing Huntington’s Disease
Scientists from Cardiff University believe that a treatment to prevent or delay the symptoms of Huntington’s disease could now be much closer, following a major breakthrough.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,400+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!