A team of researchers made a significant breakthrough which will help patients with heart problems all over the world. The scientists managed to create synthetic stem cells, which can help the heart tissue regenerate just as well as normal stem cells, while also avoiding the complications associated with them.
A team of American and Chinese researchers joined efforts in order to provide a better treatment solution for people with heart problems.
By using a revolutionary method, they managed to create synthetic stem cells, which so far have shown their ability to function as well as regular stem cells.
What the scientists did was to develop a cell-mimicking microparticle, also known as CMMP, by using a biodegradable polymer. This polymer is known as PLGA and is compatible with the biology of various living beings, including mice and humans.
Then scientists collected growth factor proteins from cardiac stem cells with human origin and added them to PLGA. After being covered by a cell membrane, the synthetic stem cell could be used. The first tests were made in vitro and revealed the fact that they were able to stimulate the development of cardiac tissues.
For the next stage of the research, scientists used these cells on living models, more specifically mice models with heart infarction. The use of synthetic stem cells resulted in the heart tissue starting to bind and grow, which is what happens when regular stem cells are used in the case of human patients who had undergone a heart attack. According to Professor Ke Cheng, one of the scientists involved in the research, the news is great.
"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," noted Cheng.
The Problems Associated With Stem Cells
The risks mentioned by the professor are definitely worth taking into consideration. Regular stem cell treatment is risky because patients can later develop tumors. Also, it is not uncommon for their bodies to reject the implants. Moreover, stem cell research and use is controversial and many countries forbid or restrict it, which also results in very high costs.
The costs are increased even more by the fact that the entire process of preparing, transporting and implanting the stem cells is very complex and difficult. Synthetic stem cells could solve many of these problems, bringing new hope to patients all over the world.