The findings are especially important as they show that the new method can overcome the unwanted side effects of reperfusion, currently the best therapeutic option available to heart attack patients. Reperfusion is the restoration of blood flow to the oxygen-deprived heart after a heart attack.
"This is a major discovery of clinical significance. There are some problems and issues associated with the use of stem cells to treat heart attacks and blocked arteries in the heart, and with this new method, many of these issues are removed. Potentially, we may have an important way to treat heart attacks. More tests will need to be done and human trials planned," said advisor to the Singapore researchers, Lee Chuen-Neng, M.D., who heads National University Hospital of Singapore's Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery. He also is Chair of Surgery at the National University Health System.
This discovery is all the more significant because the therapy for reperfusion injury remains an unmet need despite three decades of huge resource investment, thousands of research papers and hundreds of experimental protocols. This preclinical study had come amidst an international call to improve the translation of preclinical experimental therapies for reperfusion injury to clinical applications.
Heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI), occurs when blood flow to part of the heart is blocked, and the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen. If allowed to persist, prolonged oxygen deprivation causes cell death and irreversible loss of heart function, and inevitably progresses to heart failure and death. To minimise heart
muscle damage and preserve the pumping action of the heart after a MI, early
reperfusion by standard medical treatments such as angioplasty (commonly known
as "ballooning") or bypass surgery is carried out in the hospital. Despite this, most MI
patients suffer additional
|Contact: Cathy Yarbrough|
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore