Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Aping Monkey Hearts
18 July 2018

Aping Monkey Hearts

Heart failure is the leading cause of death across the world – saving patients usually involves spotting and treating issues like heart disease early, or a race for emergency care later on. Here is a breakthrough – human embryonic stem cells turned into new cardiomyocytes, cells that repair heart tissue before permanent damage takes hold. Following a heart attack, the muscle of this macaque monkey heart is riddled with holes – scar tissue (blue) quickly fills the gaps left in the damaged heart wall (red), gradually weakening the heart towards complete failure. But an injection of around 750 million human cardiomyocytes (green) integrate into the monkey muscle – over the next few weeks they peel back the scar tissue, repairing the heart. Researchers believe that similar injections will become routine following human heart attacks, backed up by careful monitoring as new heart cells begin to heal our most precious organ.

Written by John Ankers

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