A heart patient’s own skin cells soon could be used to repair damaged cardiac tissue thanks to pioneering stem cell research.
This new technique for reprogramming human skin cells puts could one day lead to treatments for Alzheimer’s, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and many other diseases.
The skin cells are turned into cells similar to embryonic stem cells, and they ultimately can be made into early-stage heart cells. These then could be implanted and grown into fully developed beating heart cells, reversing the damage caused by previous heart attacks. These new cells would replace the damaged cardiac tissue that weakens the heart’s ability to pump, develops into scar tissue and causes arrhythmias.