Scar Tissue Turned Into Heart Muscle Without Using Stem Cells
Scientists have recently found a way to turn scar tissue that forms on a heart after a heart attack into heart muscle, in a rat subject. This discovery eliminates the need for a stem cell transplant of the heart. The scientists found a way to use a molecule called microRNAs, molecules that serve as master regulators that control the activity of many genes, to activate the cardiac tissue conversion. This creates a simpler way for tissue regeneration. The microRNAs, in a specific combination, were delivered in fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are developed in the heart after a heart attack and impair the heart from pumping blood. The microRNA reprograms the fibroblasts to resemble the cardiomyocytes that make up the heart muscle. MicroRNA has many advantages over transplants of stem cells, such as the microRNA process eliminates the technical problems of surgery such as genetic alternations, and avoiding the ethical dilemma posed by stem cells. Even though this is a big step towards a better way to cure scar tissue in the heart, the procedure is still too risky to try in humans. This is just an early stage of trial, and it shows that the procedure is doable. This discovery has the potential to treat the twenty-three million people worldwide who suffer from heart failure and heart disease.