Fixing Broken Hearts Through Tissue Engineering

2017-05-07 08:17:53



The third annual Cardiovascular Tissue Engineering Symposium met at the University of Alabama at Birmingham last month, a gathering of noted physicians and scientists who share the goal of creating new tissues and new knowledge that can prevent or repair heart disease and heart attacks.

Prof. Menasche has placed engineered heart tissue derived from embryonic stem cell-derived cardiac cells onto the hearts of six heart attack patients in France in an initial safety study for this engineered tissue approach. Wu has used single-cell RNA sequencing to show 18 categories of cardiomyocytes in the heart, differing by cell type and anatomical location, even though they all derived from the same lineage.

The tissue engineering field is moving fast.

Cardiac progenitor cells that can contribute to growth or repair injury in the heart were only discovered in 2003, says symposium presenter Michael Davis, Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Tech College of Engineering and Emory University School of Medicine. In 2006, the Japanese scientist Shinya Yamanaka first showed how to transform adult cells into induced pluripotent stem cells. This potentially provides feedstock for tissue engineering using either pluripotent cells or specific progenitor cells for certain tissue lineages.