Stem cell clues to fight heart disease
Thanks to your donations, we’re funding
a research project of almost £190,000 at the University of East
Anglia, which is making strides towards understanding how the heart
The team of scientists led by Dr Andrea Mϋnsterberg is looking
at how the heart develops very early in life.
They will improve our understanding of how the first few
early heart cells grow and end up forming the heart, by
looking in chicken embryos. These stem cells have
the potential to become any type of heart cell.
Our heart develops when we are in the womb,
when a complex system of signals, growth and movement of stem cells
helps all of the organs in our body to form. Mistakes in this very
delicate process can lead to heart defects
How your donations help
By gaining a better understanding of how heart
development works, the discoveries made by this team may
lead to new ways to prevent children from being born with
congenital heart disease, or help
prevent the development of coronary heart
disease in later life.
Gaining an understanding of heart development
also gives hope to patients with heart
failure, the focus of our Mending
Broken Hearts Appeal. When a person suffers a heart attack,
they lose areas of heart muscle which can’t be replaced, often
leading to debilitating symptoms. We lose the ability to produce
new heart muscle cells in large amounts around the time of birth,
but research like this project at the University of East Anglia may
give us new clues about how to ‘switch on’ the potential of our
heart cells to divide.