Heart attack, medically termed as myocardial infarction, is the deadliest heart disorder that may happen to a person. Heart attack occurs with a decline in the blood supply to the heart muscles, depriving it from oxygen. Unlike other cells and tissues in the body, the cardiac cells are not able to regenerate so once they are damaged, they cannot be remedied nor revived. As such, when a portion of the heart dies, it is dead and non-functional.
This condition makes heart attack one of the most dreaded diseases ever. In fact, once a person suffers from heart attack, he or she is expected to be cautious in every activity performed. The occurrence of a heart attack increases the chance of getting another and the mortality increases by a mile the second time around.
The technologies in terms of dealing with heart problems nowadays have reached a far trend and one of the latest breakthroughs in terms of cardiovascular health is the discovery of stem cell. Stem cell therapy is a technology which aims to promote cellular growth and regeneration among body parts where cell regeneration is previously impossible or prevented by somatic behaviors. With the help of stem cell therapy, the infracted heart will now be able to regenerate, dead heart cells will be stimulated to regrow.
Where Stem Cells Come From?
Stem cells are found in our body. More specifically, those targeted to help victims of heart attack are found in the blood vessels. Researchers led by Chairman Paolo Madeddu of the Bristol Heart Institute made use of mouse models. These models demonstrated that the stem cells found from the leg vessels (saphenous veins) of human are able to stimulate neovascularization (growth of new blood vessels) in the heart leading to recovery after a heart attack. Human pericytes, the type of cells found in the human leg vessels, are able to transfer genetic materials once it comes in physical contact with the diseased areas.
Stem cell therapy, just like bone marrow therapy is one of the modern breakthroughs in science and medicine which allows the treatment of previously untreatable and unmanaged diseases. Stem cells are delivered to the diseased parts of the body through intravenous infusion. These IV infusions contain a rich amount of stem cells from other people and attaches themselves to diseased areas. From those areas, these stem cells will induce or promote new growth and repair of damaged cells.
Currently, treatment of myocardial infarction is simple carried out with the use of medications that lessen pain and increases cardiac output. Surgical procedures like coronary artery bypass graft are also performed to promote other means of delivering blood and oxygen to the heart—and we cannot deny that these procedures may be very risky and costly, too.
Research Advisor of the Bristol Heart Foundation Dr. Helene Wilson stated that this discovery is a big leap towards mending “broken hearts” in a safer and less invasive manner.