A remarkable discovery in heart research was made by scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart: they found the surface markers of cardiovascular functional living progenitor cells CPCs. This discovery is extremely important for heart research because it demonstrates that the cardiovascular progenitor cells CPCs can be derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, iPS cells. Investigation results were recently published in the journal PLoS ONE.
Progenitor cells are cells that are normally found only in the fetus and have the ability to develop into all cell types of the heart: cardiomyocytes, etc. The goal of the study led by Prof. Dr. Katja Schenke-by Layland from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, was to produce functional cardiomyocytes from progenitor cells. Cardiomyocytes are heart muscle cells that play an essential role in contraction. Myocardial infarction leads to loss of functional cardiomyocytes. As a result of a blockage of a coronary artery, myocardium served by that artery will not be supplied with oxygen anymore, thus it will die. A frequent consequence of patients who suffer a heart attack is heart failure, which means decreased ability of the heart contraction.
Read more at Big Step in regenerating the heart muscle.