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Breakthrough may help heart to heal itself


A breakthrough new treatment may hold the key to helping the heart to heal itself, according to a team of scientists from Bristol.

The University of Bristol’s Heart Institute claims the body’s ability to respond to an internal “mayday” signal may hold the key to success for long-awaited regenerative medicines.

Dr Nicolle Kraenkel and colleagues have discovered the body’s “call” to a type of circulating stem cell (EPCs) when tissue is damaged so the blood supply can be restored via the growth of new blood vessels.

The team has identified kinins, for long time considered inflammatory substances, are among the messengers that send a signal for blood vessel growth.

However, the study revealed that in patients with angina, the EPCs cannot sense kinins and can therefore not help heal blood supplies to the heart, leaving tissue starved of oxygen.

Armed with this knowledge the group have now harvested a sample rich with EPCs that can respond to kinins and claim it has huge potential as a regenerative tool.

Dr Kraenkel said: “We’ve used kinin like a magnet to attract and extract the most effective repair cells. This enriched sample should increase the therapeutic potential, especially in heart attack patients where quick and efficient treatment is crucial.”

Copyright PA Business 2008

University of Bristol Heart Institute

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