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Simon Fraser University lab engineers beating heart cells

By Milad Doroudian     Feb 13, 2015 in Health
Burnaby - A Simon Fraser University Research team has managed to engineer beating heart cells, also known as cardiomyocytes, that will be able to save people's lives.
Two graduate students, Elham Afshinmanesh and Sanam Shaffaattalab, under the supervision of Professor Glen Tibbits, have made a salient leap forward by actually producing cells that beat, in Petrie dishes, through the use of a Japanese method to craft stem cells.
The cells are crafted from blood and tissue samples, from numerous heart patients.
In a partnership with the B.C. Children’s and St. Paul’s hospitals, who both have numerous patients that suffer from heart problems such as arrhythmia-irregular heart beats, they will be able to provide sufferers with real solutions.
Professor Tibbits has expressed that "The idea behind our work is to test, with the patient’s own cells, what therapies might work, or not.”
The basis behind the study, in layman's terms, is that they have discovered a method to reprogram a person's own blood cells to create the type of cells that they need through the stem method, and thus be able to regenerate much needed healthy heart muscle for individual patients.
When an individual has a heart attack, the cells do not regenerate — rather they are replaced with damaged ones that impede functioning, however with this breakthrough, people might be able to gain their healthy hearts back.
The next phase will be to find out how to smooth out the complications of turning patients' blood into stem cells, which has been described as non-invasive, and thus easier, but the problem lies in the precision of creating good prospective "beating cells".
The research is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, but the team has expressed that eventually they want to become part of the Medical Services Program in order to be able to accelerate the process and gain further results.
More about Simon fraser university, beating heart cells, Heart disease
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