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Adult bone marrow stem cells injected into skeletal muscle can repair heart tissue

September 04, 2017

"Since skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the body and can withstand repeated injection of large number of stem cells, we thought it would be a good method to deliver MSCs," Lee said. "We hypothesized that MSCs, via secretion of these functionally synergistic trophic factors, would be able to rescue the failing heart even when delivered away from the myocardium.

"This study proves our hypothesis," said Lee. "We've demonstrated that injecting MSCs, or trophic factors released by MSCs, into skeletal muscle improved ventricular function, promoted regeneration of heart tissue, decreased cell death and improved other factors that cause heart failure.

"This non-invasive stem cell administration regimen, if validated clinically, is expected to facilitate future stem cell therapy for heart failure."

Lee said the next step is to use genetic and pharmacological engineering to make the stem cells more active, so good therapeutic effects can be achieved with fewer cells.

"That is our goal. It would reduce the cost of stem cell therapy and make it more affordable for patients in the future."

Arsalan Shabbir and David Zisa, graduate students in UB's M.D./Ph.D. Medical Science Training Program, and Gen Suzuki, Ph.D., research scientist in the UB Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, also contributed to the research.

The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and New York State Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM).

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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