Shalom Life | January 29, 2015

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.

A Look at Israel's 'Designer' Strains of Medical Marijuana A Look at Israel's 'Designer' Strains of Medical Marijuana TrendingIsraeli Students Bringing Clean Water to Tanzania Israeli Students Bringing Clean Water to Tanzania TrendingIsraeli Study Says Parents Should Start Teaching Kids How to Write Even Earlier Israeli Study Says Parents Should Start Teaching Kids How to Write Even Earlier Trending
 

EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Spielberg Talks New Documentary ‘Above and Beyond’

January 28, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
EXCLUSIVE: Nancy Spielberg Talks New Documentary ‘Above and Beyond’

'Above and Beyond' is the first major feature-length documentary about the foreign airmen in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Read More

Toronto is Hosting a Drake Themed Drag Party

January 28, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Toronto is Hosting a Drake Themed Drag Party

This weekend, The Crush Project invites you to 'Drake Expectations'.

Read More

Reporter to Rashida Jones: I Like Your Tan [VIDEO]

January 28, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Reporter to Rashida Jones: I Like Your Tan [VIDEO]

A TNT correspondent commented on Jones' "tan" at the SAG awards.

Read More

Sorry, Israel’s BDSM Domino’s Ad is Fake

January 28, 2015 | By Ashley Baylen
Sorry, Israel’s BDSM Domino’s Ad is Fake

Domino's announced that the viral ad for their new sriracha pizza is unauthorized.

Read More

Anti-Israel BDS Movement May Be Fashionable in Academia, But It's Far From Invincible

January 28, 2015 | By Roberta P. Seid, JNS.org
Anti-Israel BDS Movement May Be Fashionable in Academia, But It's Far From Invincible

BDS resolutions degrade academia and do not meet even the most elementary scholarly standards

Read More

Hezbollah to Israel: We Don't Want Further Escalation

January 28, 2015 | By Itamar Eichner, Moran Azulay
Hezbollah to Israel: We Don't Want Further Escalation

Attack was an 'eye for an eye' - revenge for January 18 attack in Syria attributed to Israel

Read More

Artist Envisions The Simspons as Jews During the Holocaust

January 28, 2015 | By Daniel Koren
Artist Envisions The Simspons as Jews During the Holocaust

With 'The Simpsons NEVER AGAIN', Alexsandro Palombo draws the iconic cartoon family imprisoned at Auschwitz in honor of the 70th anniversary of the camp's liberation

Read More

Report: Poverty in Israel Comparable to Mexico

January 28, 2015 | By Caitlin Marceau
Report: Poverty in Israel Comparable to Mexico

With the middle class disappearing, the gap between the rich and the poor is becoming all too clear in the Holy Land, according to the Adva Center

Read More

More Headlines