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Stem Cells Research May Help Save Heart Attack Patients

heart-attackEvery day of the year, scientists and researchers are working on new applications and treatments for stem cells in order to treat patients for a range of conditions – from spinal injuries, nerve conditions, lung diseases and much more. One new application of stem cell therapy has been found to treat damaged heart muscle tissue after a patient suffers a heart attack. All things stem cell is Dr. Johnson’s passion – so we are excited to share yet another example of the benefits of stem cells.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control estimate that every 43 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a heart attack. Heart attacks occur when blood vessels become blocked, either as a result of a blood clot or from atherosclerosis, which occurs as a result of plaque buildup from a bad diet, disease, or genetics. When heart attacks occur, the muscle of the heart is damaged because blood and oxygen cannot reach the tissue. As a result, the cells of the heart muscle begin to die off. Since heart muscles are unable to regenerate, the damage becomes permanent and results in further complications.

A 2012 research study at Penn State University began using stem cells to generate myocardium muscle cells. The myocardium is the inner muscle layer of the heart and has a vital role in pumping blood through the body. Recent studies by the same team are now working to develop these same stem cells into the cells of the heart's outer layer, or epicardium. A final and future piece of the project will be creating the cells of the innermost layer, also known as endocardium. A unique part of this project involved engineering the stem cells to develop a fluorescent protein marker when they fully developed into epicardium cells. This allowed researchers to directly see the fruits of their labor.
Almost two months out after their development, these epicardium cells appeared regenerated and showed no disease, which shows the ability of stem cells to heal damaged tissue fully. Dr. Johnson uses pure adipose fat stem cells to treat muscle, joints, and other damaged tissue, often giving heart attack patients back full range of motion and use without any signs of disease or injury after treatment.

Wondering if stem cell therapy can help your damaged muscle? Call Dr. Johnson at (214) 256-1462.

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