by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  December 26, 2016 at 3:58 PM Health Watch
  • Stem cells have the ability of dividing and developing into different cell types in the body.
  • Synthetic version of cardiac stem cells was developed by fabricating a cell-mimicking microparticle from a biodegradable polymer.
  • Synthetic cardiac stem cells reduced the risks associated with stem cell therapy when compared to normal stem cells.

A synthetic version of a cardiac stem cell was developed by a research team from the North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University. These stem cells were found to offer therapeutic benefits when compared to other natural stem cells.

Synthetic stem cells have better preservation stability and were found to reduce the risks associated with stem cell therapies.
Novel Discovery of Synthetic Cardiac Stem Cells

The research study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Ke Cheng, associate professor of molecular biomedical sciences at NC State University, associate professor in the joint biomedical engineering program at NC state and UNC and adjunct associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, along with his team developed a synthetic version of cardiac stem cell.

The research team fabricated a cell-mimicking microparticle (CMMP) from a biodegradable polymer called PLGA (poly lactic co-golic acid). They harvested growth factor proteins from human cardiac stem cells and were then added to PLGA. The particle was finally coated on the cardiac stem cell membrane.

Cheng, said, "We took the cargo and the shell of the stem cell and packaged it into a biodegradable particle."

In-vitro testing of Cardiac Stem Cell and cell-mimicking microparticle were found to promote the growth of cardiac muscle cells. By testing the CMMP in a mouse model with myocardial infarction, they were able to find the binding ability of the cardiac tissue and promote growth after heart attack when compared to cardiac stem cells.

Cheng, said, "The synthetic cells operate much the same way a deactivated vaccine works, Their membranes allow them to bypass the immune response, bind to cardiac tissue, release the growth factors and generate repair, but they cannot amplify by themselves. So you get the benefits of stem cell therapy without risks."

Stem Cell Therapy
Cells that have the ability of dividing and developing into many different cell types in the body are referred to as stem cells. Stem cells may help to repair the body that is damaged by disease, injury or normal wear.

They work by helping the damaged tissue to repair itself by secreting 'paracrine factors', these may include proteins and genetic materials.

Even though stem cell therapies are effective, they were found to be associated with certain risks of tumor growth and immune rejection. They also require careful storage and multi-step process of typing and characterization before being used.

Benefits of Synthetic Stem Cells
  • Reduced risk of tumor formation, as it could not replicate due to its structure.
  • Synthetic stem cell are more durable than human stem cell.
  • They can tolerate harsh freezing and thawing.
  • It is not necessary to be derived from patient's own cells, can be manufactured by any type of stem cells.
The author also concluded that the discovery of a synthetic stem cell product may help people to receive beneficial treatment without cost delays.

  1. Junnan Tang "Therapeutic microparticles functionalized with biomimetic cardiac stem cell membranes and secretome", Nature Communications ; (2016)DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS13724
  2. What are stem cells? How are they regulated? - (

Source: Medindia

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