Healthbeat: New process may help regenerate damaged human hearts

Healthbeat

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Heart disease is a major health epidemic which claims more than 650,000 American lives each year. Now, a groundbreaking new study may speed-up the effort to defeat heart disease.

The human heart lacks adequate regeneration to reverse damage of modern diseases. But thanks to a research study, a never-before-described process may end up helping regenerate damaged human hearts.

Despite studying the heart for more than 100 years, researchers have gained limited knowledge of how it repairs or regenerates itself. Certain mammals are very capable, but human adults aren’t among them.

“And so what we’re trying to do here is understand those differences of what are fixed and what are flexible, and try to pinpoint those and then utilize them to try to promote some tissue repair in the adult heart,” said Dr. Ian White, Ph.D., President/CSO, Neobiosis.

A peer-reviewed research paper by Dr. Ian White, President and Chief Scientific Officer of biotechnology company Neobiosis, was published in the journal Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine and details some recent key findings.

The paper explains how scientists studied neonatal mouse hearts in a petri dish and managed to keep those hearts alive for several weeks longer than previously possible to study their regenerative ability.

Among their findings?

“The nerves are not only critical but there are certain factors that we are able to take from those nerves and supplement and actually see that regeneration happen over a longer period of time,” said Dr. White.

Dr. White’s paper cites how the research helps better understand the heart’s disease and regenerative processes.  

“So what we can do now theoretically is take these hearts that have been cultured for a very long period of time, in some cases weeks. We were able to take those hearts under very defined conditions, and then infect them with COVID, or infect them with other viruses, or expose them to the immune cells that are usually activated in response to the vaccine and then we can see how the heart responds.”

Dr. White says that research can lead to better treatment of the leading cause of death in the U.S. heart disease.

“We can maybe design drugs around that to try and actually mitigate the disease.”

Dr. White believes researchers should be able to move forward in quantum leaps to pursue a long-term treatment or maybe even a cure for heart disease.

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