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Australian Scientists Derive Heart Muscle From Fat Cells

TheAge.com.au, October 19, 2008

Adult stem cells that have been derived from human adipose (fat) tissue mark the first of their kind in a new breakthrough that could offer an ideal stem cell therapy for heart patients.

According to Dr. Rodney Dilley, principal scientist at Melbourne's Bernard O'Brien Institute, "The fact that you can do this potentially opens a whole area of heart regeneration methods. Our approach is to create a piece of heart muscle that we can use to put onto the heart to stop it from remodelling and to return its contractile function to normal." Since heart muscle does not usually regenerate itself after injury, but instead forms scar tissue as part of the "remodelling" process, this announcement by the Australian scientists has far-reaching implications for the field of cardiology. Additionally, since most people have accumulated the storage of some body fat, adipose tissue constitutes one of the most easily accessible sources of autologous adult stem cells.

The discovery could potentially offer a treatment for a wide variety of cardiac problems, ranging from congenital heart defects to age-related heart disease.



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