Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. With nearly 30 million Americans diagnosed with heart disease, it is no wonder we are looking for treatment options. Unfortunately, many types of therapies available today do not address the root of the problem. Additionally, organ transplants are extremely rare, with more than 4,000 Americans on the list for a heart transplant currently.
These statistics are daunting, to say the least. But thanks to scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, there may be an alternative. Stem cells and regenerative medicine have been in the news a lot as of late, and rightfully so. Not so long ago, the aforementioned team of researchers discovered adult stem cells may be used to regenerate heart tissue or even grow a human heart. This is groundbreaking news that may change how we view and treat heart disease, giving hope to the countless individuals in need of a new heart.
The heart is one of – if not the – hardest working muscles in the body. It works in overdrive to bring fresh blood to all the nooks and crannies of the body while working simultaneously to supply oxygen and vital nutrients. When the heart is met with a disease, a blocked artery, or some other problem, it can no longer work as it should. Sadly, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
There are tons of different cells, tissues, and more in the heart, all of which work together to keep it going. In the past, it was believed that cardiac muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) had no regenerative capabilities, but thanks to several new studies we are learning this may not be the case. Researchers continue to explore how stem cell therapy may be able to repair damaged tissues and restore functionality to the ever-important cardiomyocytes.
Right now, scientists are working to achieve this end goal of growing an entire human heart from stem cells. If they succeed, millions of people worldwide may be in luck. However, it is important to note that researchers “aren’t quite there yet.” This is an ongoing project that must be approached with determination, attention to detail, and a deeper understanding of how stem cells work.
If scientists can develop a way to encourage stem cells to mature faster, in turn helping treat heart disease and other conditions, they may be able to eventually create an entire human heart.
Here at Texas Partners Healthcare Group, we believe in the future of regenerative medicine and the unparalleled role it has in treating medical conditions. To learn more about the benefits of stem cells or if you have questions about how stem cell therapy may treat common heart conditions, please contact our pain management clinic in Frisco, Texas, today and schedule an appointment.