Stem cells and heart disease – why today’s technology can offer real hope for tomorrow

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Scientists are working hard to discover how stem cell technology can help in our battle against heart disease.

One team at Yale is looking at creating personalised medicines and tissue to treat patient with cardiovascular disease.

Part of the project includes bio-engineered tissue, made of stem cells that are taken from blood cells of sufferers.

The team previously created a vessel ring that mimics a human blood vessel and are now looking to create a beating vascular ring as a heart bypass.

Elsewhere, stem cells are being tested at the Medical University of South Carolina as a possible treatment for heart failure with a preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).

Cardiosphere-derived cells from the muscle tissue of donor hearts could be injected into the hearts of patients with HFpEF, they say.

And, in another study, there’s hope that scientist will be able to engineer heart muscle grafts made of stem cells that could help to heart failure victims.

In tests, grafts were placed into the hearts of guinea and their ability to pump blood improved by 31%.

Comparethetreatment.com expert Dr Husein Salem, founder and CEO of Precious Cells Group, is a molecular biologist who has published research on the development of gene therapy and stem cell therapy solutions for cardiovascular disorders.

Here, he shares his thoughts on these exciting new developments.

Why is stem cell research key to fighting heart disease?
Despite the incredible advances in medical technologies over the last 40 years, the prevalence of heart disease has continued to grow. This issue in is part due to better diagnosis technologies, such as molecular biomarker screening and greater research into the epidemiology of the conditions that has led to the increased prevalence.

Changes in lifestyles have, of course, also had a major impact. According to NHS statistics, heart disease is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths in the UK each year. About 1 in 6 men and 1 in 10 women die from this disease.

This is the reason why scientists and clinicians continue to focus on creating better and more innovative therapeutic modalities to combat heart disease and create solutions to improve the quality of life for so many.

Stem cell research offers a real hope in this regard. Stem cell research and, more specifically, personalised medicines is being heralded as the revolution in healthcare – a paradigm shift in healthcare that will see a whole new approach, a targeted and personalised approach to the way patients are treated. Cell transplantation will be a key technology in this regard.

What is the timescale of this research being translated into a reality?
Setting timelines is (and will always be) a difficult challenge for the scientists working endless hours to bring research to mainstream medicine. We know that stem cell technology works, we know the almost unlimited, indefinite potential it holds for curing disease and improving the health of the world’s population.

However, we must bring in line the correct methods to deliver this technology safely and effectively. We must avoid rushing the technology for the sake of commercial gain, but ensure it is translated quickly enough so that those that can benefit from it today, can access it sooner rather than later.

Properly conducted clinical trials allow this and so I say, from that perspective, the technology has already been translated into a reality and many hundreds and thousands of patients have already befitted.

However, access still needs to be widened and as along as patients are still dying who could have benefitted from cell transplantations, then there is always more to be done.

What does Precious Cells offer – and how can this make a difference to one’s future health?
Precious Cells is a personalised medicine company that offers a portfolio of technologies to meet the current unmet needs in cell transplantation medicine.

One of the core services of the company is facilitating the procurement (collection) and long-term cryostorage of human stem cells and tissues, for the evolving field of medicine.

The organisation operates a biorepository holding cells and transplant grade units for patients who require a cell transplant or for personalised medicine technologies. Clients who have a family history of certain disease can opt to store their own cells for themselves or, equally, they can opt to donate their cells for others to use.

The company has a strong focus on creating and delivering emerging direct to consumer health technology services such as molecular wellness and personalised genomic services.

The totality of Precious Cells services is designed to prepare its clients for the incredibly exciting future of medicine and ensure that everyone (regardless of race, creed or geographical location) has access to technologies that will help prepare them for the unknown tomorrow.
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