Growing New Coronary Arteries

Scientists continue to experiment successfully with the use of stem cells to engineer regeneration: "researchers have identified stem cells that are able to grow new coronary arteries, a finding that could lead to new ways to treat atherosclerosis. ... We have defined this novel class of primitive cells and named them coronary vascular progenitor cells [CVPCs]. These cells possess all of the fundamental properties of stem cells and are distributed within niches located in the vessel wall of the entire human coronary circulation system. ... To test the activity of these cells, the scientists created a blockage in a coronary artery in dogs and injected human CVPCs in the blocked artery. After one month, the dogs showed improvements in blood flow and heart functioning. The researchers found that the dogs had grown large, intermediate and small human coronary arteries. ... The findings suggest that the human heart contains a reservoir of CVPCs that can be used to create a biological bypass in patients with chronic coronary artery disease and ischemic cardiomyopathy, which results when arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart are blocked."

Link: http://www.ajc.com/health/content/shared-auto/healthnews/cora/630096.html

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