Stem Cell for Heart Disease: Will Synthetic Stem Cells Be Effective?

Stem Cell for Heart Disease: Will Synthetic Stem Cells Be Effective? Will synthetic stem cells be the answer to heart disease? A research project by Dr. Ke Cheng of the North Carolina State University (NCSU) suggests that going synthetic just might be an effective treatment for damaged heart cells.

So what exactly is this synthetic stem cell? According to a recent NCSU press release, it is called cell-mimicking microparticle (CMMP). It is fabricated by combining poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) or PLGA with growth factor proteins harvested from cultured human cardiac stem cells.

stem cell for heart disease - dr ke cheng - ncsu

The particle is then coated with cardiac stem cell membrane. [Related Reading: Can Stem Cells Repair the Heart?]

Some details on this latest stem cell hope for people with heart problems from the NCSU press release: “These synthetic stem cells offer therapeutic benefits comparable to those from natural stem cells and could reduce some of the risks associated with stem cell therapies. Additionally, these cells have better preservation stability and the technology is generalizable to other types of stem cells. Stem cell therapies work by promoting endogenous repair; that is, they aid damaged tissue in repairing itself by secreting “paracrine factors,” including proteins and genetic materials. While stem cell therapies can be effective, they are also associated with some risks of both tumor growth and immune rejection. Also, the cells themselves are very fragile, requiring careful storage and a multi-step process of typing and characterization before they can be used.”

Now, does this probable stem cell for heart disease treatment work? The results of vitro tests and a test using mouse models are very promising. From the press release: “When tested in vitro, both the CMMP and cardiac stem cell promoted the growth of cardiac muscle cells. They also tested the CMMP in a mouse model with myocardial infarction, and found that its ability to bind to cardiac tissue and promote growth after a heart attack was comparable to that of cardiac stem cells.”

What makes the CMPP a better option than cardiac stem cells is the fact that because it cannot replicate, CMPP reduces the risk of tumor formation. They are also more durable than human stem cells and can tolerate freezing and thawing

Says Dr. Cheng: “The synthetic cells operate much the same way a deactivated vaccine works. Their membranes allow them to bypass the immune response, bind to cardiac tissue, release the growth factors and generate repair, but they cannot amplify by themselves. So you get the benefits of stem cell therapy without risks.”

He adds: “We are hoping that this may be a first step toward a truly off-the-shelf stem cell product that would enable people to receive beneficial stem cell therapies when they’re needed, without costly delays.”

That’s it for now fellow people who are interested in stem cell for heart disease. We will update this post once there are new developments on this promising treatment.

Stem Cell for Heart Disease: Will Synthetic Stem Cells Be Effective? Posted 28 January 2016.