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Has Second-Generation Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Arrived – CD31 Positive Cells

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 8 to 12 million people in the United States are affected with peripheral artery disease. It is a condition where blood vessels carrying blood to head, organs, and limbs are blocked by cell debris known as plaque.

Though ageing, smoking are couple of risk factors, long time diabetic people are found to face increased complications of this condition. The severity of diabetes condition in the recent times in this country requires no special mentioning.

In April 2009, researchers at the Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario identified some selected stem cells from bone marrow. They had the property to grow new blood vessels to treat this disease.

The research was funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Aldagen Inc. and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Results of their findings were published in the journal Blood.

Now research study carried out at the Emory University School of Medicine reports that selected cells from human blood itself have this healing property. Their research is published in the August 10, 2010 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Selected cells from bone marrow can also aid in this healing process according to a paper published in the online journal Circulation Research on July 15,2010.

Knowledge Gained from the Research:

The focus of the study was a molecule CD31 found on the cells which form the inner surface of blood vessels known as endothelial cells. The research study used donated human blood and bone marrow cells of experimental mice to show that these cells with CD31 on their surfaces are involved in the process of secretion of certain hormones.

Technically, secretion is a process involving generation and then separation of a substance from cells. In this case, the substances are hormones. They are signalling molecules which either initiate or conclude different functions in the body.

It was learnt that secretion process of endothelial cells with CD31 molecule supports the growth of blood vessels. Nearly 33 percent cells in the blood or bone marrow have CD31 on their surfaces.

Impact of the Research:

Mice with blocked blood supply in their hind legs were used to test the ability of these cells in grow new blood vessels. It was found that 80 percent of these mice survived after cells with CD31 molecules taken from bone marrow were transplanted in them.

A technique known as laser dopplar images found that blood flow to the organ increased greatly along with the number of new capillaries. Researchers believe that the method can be extended on human too. Growing of CD31 positive cells do not require large volumes of blood or bone marrow from the patient and can be grown quickly.

Apart from being a novel treatment option for peripheral artery disease, the researchers believe that CD31 positive cells can treat other heart ailments like heart attack, heart failure and diabetic neuropathy. Future research is to confirm this very belief.

Has second-generation cardiovascular cell therapy arrived ?

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