A promising way of healing damaged heart tissue involves combining stem cells with nano-magnets. The magnetised stem cells are then steered to the site of damage, using magnetic fields.
"Stem cell therapies show great promise as a treatment for heart injuries, but 24 hours after infusion, we found that less than 10 percent of the stem cells remain in the injured area," said Eduardo Marbán, M.D., director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. "Once injected into a patient's artery, many stem cells are lost due to the combination of tissue blood flow, which can wash out stem cells, and cardiac contraction, which can squeeze out stem cells. We needed to find a way to guide more of the cells directly to the area of the heart that we want to heal." Marbán's team, including Ke Cheng, Ph.D. and other researchers, then began a new animal investigation, loading cardiac stem cells with micro-size iron particles. The iron-loaded cells were then injected into rats with a heart attack. When a toy magnet was placed externally above the heart and close to the damaged heart muscle, the stem cells clustered at the site of injury, retention of cells in the heart tripled, and the injected cells went on to heal the heart more effectively. "Tissue viability is enhanced and heart function is greater with magnetic targeting," said Marbán, who holds the Mark Siegel Family Foundation Chair at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and directs Cedars-Sinai's Board of Governors Heart Stem Cell Center. "This remarkably simple method could easily be coupled with current stem cell treatments to enhance their effectiveness." _ Physorg
The combination of stem cells with nanotechnology provides another synergistic surprise, loaded with hope for future cures and life extension potential.
Tomorrow's medical treatments will be more individualised, more targeted to specific systems and tissues. As a result, the collateral damage will be lessened, interventional dosing and exposure can be moderated, and a desired outcome can be made more likely.