Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scientist turns skin cells into heart cell (USA)

A University of Houston scientist says he has developed a stem cell technique that might lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's, diabetes and other diseases. Professor Robert Schwartz, head of the university's Center for Gene Regulation and Molecular Therapeutics, said he devised a method that allows the reprogramming of ordinary human skin cells into heart cells that are similar to embryonic stem cells. Schwartz and his colleagues said the cells could be implanted and grown into fully developed beating heart cells, reversing the damage caused by previous heart attacks. The new cells would replace the damaged cardiac tissue that weakens the heart's ability to pump, develops into scar tissue and causes arrhythmias. The researcher said early clinical trials using reprogrammed cells on actual heart patients could begin within one or two years - UPI

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