Researchers have found a way to monitor stem cells after they are placed inside the heart to treat damaged heart tissue.
Stem cell therapy is a promising treatment option to treat damaged heart tissue. However, till date clinical trials experimenting with the procedure have failed to produce any significant results.
One major reason is that doctors aren't really sure of the status of the stem cells once inside the heart as stem cells have no significant markers to track them. They aren't sure if the stem cells are placed at the right position, if so are they regenerating and for how long do they survive. Dr. Sam Gambhir and his team from Stanford University School of Medicine in California have found a solution, which could be used to find solutions to these questions.
Researchers have developed a nanoparticle containing silicone, which when infused with the stem cells would make them visible in ultrasound scan. Thus, the stem cells could be continuously inside the heart from the moment they leave the needle.
The nanoparticles were readily integrated into the stem cells without affecting the normal functioning of the stem cells.
Scientists conducted an experiment on mice and they were able to track the injected stem cells within the heart of the mice through ultrasound.
However, there is long way before the method is used on humans. The study is published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.