UW News

April 30, 2014

Stem cell therapy regenerates heart muscle in primates

UW Health Sciences and UW Medicine

cardiac cells

Regenerative medicine researcher Dr. Charles Murry holds a tray of cardiac muscle cells derived from embryonic stem cells.Clare McLean

Stem cell therapy can regenerate heart muscle in primates, according to a UW-led study. The scientists on this and related projects are seeking way to repair hearts weakened by myocardial infarctions. This all-too-common type of heart attack blocks a major artery and deprives heart muscle of oxygen.

People who survive a severe episode often continue their lives in poor health because their hearts no longer work properly. The researchers hope eventually to restore such failing hearts to normal function. Their approach uses heart cells created from human embryonic stem cells

The researchers tested the possibility of producing enough of these cardiac muscle cells to remuscularize damaged hearts in a large animal whose heart size and physiology are human-like.

Their results are reported today, April 30, in the advanced online edition of Nature. See the paper.

Dr. Charles Murray, professor of pathology and bioengineering, and Dr. Michael LaFlamme, assistant professor of pathology, are the senior authors of the paper.

Read the details of their project and its outcomes in HS NewsBeat, and watch a video describing the research.