Researchers are looking for new ways of compensating the large demand of hearts for transplant purposes, but also for means to reverse the cardiovascular disease. Stem cells procedures are the most studies nowadays. There are two ways of using stem cells to help patients suffering from heart disease. Adult autologous stem cells, taken from the adult body of a patient are used for finding treatments for coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and arterial disease. Stem cells preserved from the umbilical cord are introduced into organs grown in the lab.
Premature cells collected from a heart biopsy are stored and grown in the lab. The younger the cells are, the greater is their potential ability for body repair. These cells beat in the dish at the same rate cells beat in the heart of the patient. Scientists are working on injecting these cells back in the sick heart. The goal of this procedure is to find the right path to replace or repair the damaged cells.
Embryonic stem cells from the umbilical cord are injected in the 3D printed organ so that the body of the patient will not reject the heart after transplant. Scientists use the connective tissues and blood vessels from a heart that is no longer suitable for transplant. Starting with this base, collagen cells grow a fully functional and healthy hearts, but without any characteristic cells for a blood type. This is when stem cells come in handy. They are injected in the ‘blank organ’ and the cells repopulate the vessels with the specific cells of the patient body. Blood is taken from the patient and used to fill the vessels. The last step is a three hour transplant surgical procedure.
These methods are in the beta test stage, but researchers and scientists hope to finalize them soon and start the clinical trials.