Nanowerk is spotlighting research being conducted to study the viability of using stem cells and carbon nanotubes to repair damaged heart tissue.
From Michael Berger at Nanowerk:
An area of particular interest is differentiation of MSC [mesenchymal stem cells] into cardiomyocytes (let’s simply call them ‘heart muscle cells’) for damaged heart muscle tissue. In a heart attack, part of the heart muscle loses its blood supply and cells in that part of the heart die, thereby damaging the muscle. This reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood around the body. Considering that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in most Western countries (in America with almost half a million fatalities and well over 1 million new and recurrent coronary attacks), stem cell therapy – to repair heart muscle cells, and restore the viability and function of the area already damaged – could have a tremendous impact on modern medicine.
"Recently, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been generating great excitement in the fields of bioengineering and drug delivery research – however, very little is known about the affect of CNTs on MSC response" Dr. Valerie Barron tells Nanowerk. "Therefore, the main aim of one of our recent research studies was to investigate the effect of CNTs on human MSC (hMSC) biocompatibility, proliferation and multipotency."
In this study, Barron, a Senior Researcher at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science at National University of Ireland (NUI), together with collaborators from NUI’s Regenerative Medicine Institute and Department of Anatomy, investigated a range of different types of CNTs,including single-walled nanotubes (SWCNTs), multi-walled nanotubes (MWCNTs) and functionalized CNTs.
More nitty-gritty details at the Nanowerk…