Shalom Life | November 22, 2014

Israeli Scientists Transform Patient's Skin Cells into Healthy Heart-Muscle Cells

Medical breakthrough can make possible to repair patients' organs with own tissue

By: Kristen Hallam

Published: May 23rd, 2012 in Health » Israel

Israeli Scientists Transform Patient's Skin Cells into Healthy Heart-Muscle Cells

Israeli scientists for the first time succeeded in transforming the skin cells of heart-failure patients into healthy heart-muscle cells, suggesting that it may be possible to repair the organ with a person’s own tissue.

The cells from two men with the disease, once genetically reprogrammed, were able to blend in with healthy heart tissue in rats, scientists from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, wrote today in the European Heart Journal, a publication of the European Society of Cardiology. Testing the cells in human hearts may be as long as a decade away, as scientists hone the technique in animal studies, they said.

The finding points to a novel potential source of stem cells, the building blocks of life which can grow into any type of tissue in the body. Using skin cells from the patient would avoid the difficulty of obtaining stem cells from embryos and may limit the risk that the patient’s immune system would reject the transplant, which can occur with cells taken from healthy people and given to the sick, the researchers said.

“We have shown that it’s possible to take skin cells from an elderly patient with advanced heart failure and end up with his own beating cells in a laboratory dish that are healthy and young, the equivalent to the stage of his heart cells when he was just born,” said Lior Gepstein, a professor of medicine and physiology who led the research, in a statement.

Weak Hearts

Heart failure is a weakening of the heart muscle that can cause fatigue and ultimately death. About 5.8 million people in the U.S. have the condition, according to the National Institutes of Health. More people are surviving heart attacks and, as a result, the number of people living with a damaged heart is increasing, said Nicholas Mills, an intermediate clinical research fellow at the British Heart Foundation and a cardiologist at the University of Edinburgh.

“Unfortunately, the body has only very limited capacity to repair the heart following a heart attack,” Mills said in a statement. “There is therefore an urgent need to develop effective and safe treatments to regenerate the heart.”

The study published today was funded by the Israel Science Foundation, the European Research Council, the Nancy and Stephen Grand philanthropic fund, and the J&J-Technion research grant.

More research is needed to determine whether the cells can be produced in enough quantity for effective treatment and to develop transplantation strategies that reduce the risk of the body rejecting the cells, the scientists said. Refining the procedure will probably require funding from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, said Gepstein, whose team is conducting additional experiments in animals.

“I assume it will take at least five to 10 years to clinical trials if one can overcome these problems,” Gepstein said.

This article first appeared on Bloomberg Businessweek.

Life Expectancy On The Rise In Israel Life Expectancy On The Rise In Israel TrendingLearn to Quit Smoking While You Sleep! Learn to Quit Smoking While You Sleep! TrendingJewish Hall of Fame: Jonas Salk Jewish Hall of Fame: Jonas Salk Trending
 

The Ten Best Kosher Restaurants To Eat At In Toronto

November 21, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
The Ten Best Kosher Restaurants To Eat At In Toronto

We look at the best kosher eateries the city of Toronto has to offer

Read More

Israelis Grapple with Synagogue Safety in Aftermath of Jerusalem Attack

November 21, 2014 | By Deborah Fineblum Schabb, JNS.org
Israelis Grapple with Synagogue Safety in Aftermath of Jerusalem Attack

Rabbis agree that we have to be more "vigilant" at shul

Read More

Israel Antiquities Authority Launches New Game For Children

November 21, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Israel Antiquities Authority Launches New Game For Children

With "Dig Quest: Israel," kids will learn about history and archaeology without having to get off their iPads

Read More

Life Expectancy On The Rise In Israel

November 21, 2014 | By Caitlin Marceau
Life Expectancy On The Rise In Israel

Expectancy for both men and women is up compared to 2012

Read More

Lena Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Adam Sandler Read "Mean Tweets" on Jimmy Kimmel

November 21, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Lena Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Adam Sandler Read "Mean Tweets" on Jimmy Kimmel

Dunham doesn't seem amused by one Twitter comment reading: "Unpopular opinion: lena dunham's boobs are dog noses."

Read More

Sarah Silverman Admits to Crossing the Line With Bill Cosby Rape Joke

November 21, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Sarah Silverman Admits to Crossing the Line With Bill Cosby Rape Joke

The comedian offended many of her Twitter followers on Wednesday.

Read More

Amy Schumer Pays Tribute to Joan Rivers at Glamour's Women Of The Year Awards [VIDEO]

November 21, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Amy Schumer Pays Tribute to Joan Rivers at Glamour's Women Of The Year Awards [VIDEO]

Schumer gave a hilarious and heartwarming tribute to the late comedian.

Read More

Justin Bieber is Not Becoming a Nice Jewish Boy

November 21, 2014 | By Sara Torvik
Justin Bieber is Not Becoming a Nice Jewish Boy

Several media outlets falsely reported that Bieber was seeking council from a rabbi in Los Angeles.

Read More

More Headlines