This confirmation of the earlyheart’s capacity to regenerate is welcome and strongly indicates that aprotocol exists to selectively replace damage. It may turn out to be a combination of surgical removal of damagefollowed by scaffolds and some form of bio stimulator. These are all been successfully worked ontoday and the big problems are slowly yielding to research.
Much sooner than much later organregeneration and damage repair is going to become a routine part ofmedicine. This will have the enormousbenefit of restoring primary health for most and returning them to productiveliving. On top of that the procedureswill be swift to implement and the patient recovery complete.
The investment by society will bea fraction of the benefit.
Even without repairing cellularaging, a human being is able to be economically active into his nineties if hisbody is stable. That it is presently a rarityis only an artifact of our lack of knowledge.
Damaged hearts could one day repair themselves, mouse study suggests
Newborn mice can regenerate 15% of their heart tissue, raising theprospect of treatments to regenerate human hearts
Ian Sample,science correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 24February 2011
Even if a patient survives a heart attack, scar tissue impairs theorgan's ability to pump blood leading to severe disability. Photograph: ScottGoldsmith/Getty
The hearts of newborn mice can repair themselves after an injury, adiscovery that raises fresh hopes for healing damaged hearts in people.Scientists knew that some fish and amphibians could regrow parts of theirhearts after major injuries, but there was no good evidence for this inmammals.
In the latest study, US researchers showed that one-day-old mice couldregenerate 15% of their heart tissue within three weeks, an ability they lost aweek or so after being born. Heart scans showed that parts of the organ thathad been surgically removed had not only grown back but were functioningnormally.
The finding has raised hopes that the human heart may also have anatural ability to heal itself. If this could be switched on in adults, itcould potentially help 750,000 people in
alone living with heartdamage. Britain
"When a person has a heart attack andheart muscle cells are lost, the heart loses pump function, causing heartfailure and eventual death," said Eric Olson, a molecular biologist atSouthwestern Medical Centre in Dallas, Texas.
"Now that we know that the mammalian heart indeed possesses thepotential to regenerate, at least early in life, we can begin to search fordrugs or genes or other things that might reawaken this potential in the adultheart of mice and eventually of humans."
Writingin the journal, Science, the researchers explain how surgery to remove thebottom tip of the heart from newborn mice caused healthy heart muscle cells tomultiply and repair the injury.
Advances in medicine mean that more people survive heart attacks thanever before, but patients are usually left with scar tissue that impairs theheart's ability to pump blood around the body. Such debilitating heart failureis one of
'smain causes of disability, leaving some patients housebound and fighting forbreath. Even getting out of bed or eating a meal can be incredibly difficult. Britain
Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the BritishHeart Foundation, said the discovery was exciting and "strengthens theview that understanding how this happens could provide the key to healing adulthuman hearts".
"If you get somebody to hospital immediately after a heart attack,you might well start thinking of a treatment that starts this repair processvery quickly," he said. "But for a lot of other people, the maintrouble is heart failure when they have had some mild damage for years andyears and it slowly gets worse. At that point, you might think of morecomplicated interventions, to reduce the amount of scarring before inducing theheart to repair itself. It's a long way off, but these are probably the worldleaders in the field."