Chinese scientists conducted the first experiment on the treatment of heart disease with stem cells, reported on the website of the journal Nature. Still first considered their Japanese colleagues, who told about their results in January 2019. Now Chinese researchers have announced that held such therapy a year ago. Now they claim that patients fully recovered. However, before the publication of their results, this information can neither confirm nor deny.
After Japanese scientists Takahashi and Yamanaka invented the technology of reprogramming, that is, of obtaining induced pluripotent stem cells from adult, Japan became one of the leaders in regenerative medicine. In clinical trials in recent years, Japanese scientists have received from reprogramming cells of the cornea and ran an experiment on the treatment with their help Parkinson’s disease.
In January 2020, Japanese scientists have taken a new height — they said that for the first time transplanted patient heart muscle cells derived from reprogramming cells. In other words, adult cells are first transformed into an analog of embryonic stem, then raised them from the cardiomyocytes, was applied to biodegradable basis and repaired damaged heart tissue.
Now Chinese surgeon Wang dongjin (Dongjin Wang) from the hospital in Nanjing told the journal Nature that his team had performed a similar operation a year ago, in may of 2019. According to Dozzina, two patients with severe heart disease received 100 million cardiomyocytes in parallel with the bypass operation. Both took immunosuppressants to prevent inflammation. Both, according to the doctor, have experienced minor disorders of heart rhythm, but they quickly stopped.
No other adverse effects were reported from patients formed tumors, and the heart recovered. Less than a month after the operation, patients were discharged from the hospital, but researchers over the years have watched their state before to talk about the results of therapy. Dongjin expects to publish its report in a scientific journal later this year.
Technologies that were used by both groups of scientists, is quite similar — as far as can be judged by their stories. The main difference is in the method of introduction: Japanese doctors applied the cardiomyocytes on a substrate, forming a patch, and the Chinese were injected in their pure form. Experts quoted by Nature, point to the shortcomings of both methods of introduction: cells patches worse keep your heart rate, and single cells are weaker than root. However, to compare the efficiency of procedures is not possible, since none of the groups has not yet published the detailed data.
However, the effectiveness of these approaches is not the only question that arises for these experiments. Both research groups will also have to prove whether the therapeutic effect is caused by the integration of the cardiomyocytes into the heart muscle. As shown by experiments with other stem cells and hematopoietic mesenchyme — improving heart function may be caused not by embedding the stem cells in the tissue, and the signal substances which these cells secrete.
We already wrote about other attempts to cope with myocardial infarction — for example, using hydrogel or patches with a non-muscle cell types. And in the summer of 2019, scientists didn’t just grow model “heart-on-a-chip”, which declined according to the same principles as human.