Extropy +5: Stem Cells
Magnets Guide Stem Cells towards Damaged Heart
Stem cells have great potential in medicine as they can be coaxed into becoming any type of cell. But for all their dynamism, researchers have had a tough time getting them to stay put.
At Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, where a team lead by Dr. Eduardo Marbán first isolated and grew stem cells to replace damaged human heart tissue, it was discovered that only 10% of cells on average stay where they are meant to do their miraculous healing. Other cells placed near the heart are swept away by the blood stream or squeezed out by the heart muscles themselves.
The most promising solution to this has been to load up the cells with micro-sized iron particles so they can be guided with magnets. At Cedars-Sinai they placed a magnet right above the damaged tissue of a rat’s heart and found that more than triple the normal amount of stem cells were retained, leading to much more effective healing. (See the study: here)
Trials are moving forward and if all goes well this strategy will be combined with the institute’s already innovative heart stem-cell procedures.
That’s the kind of extropy hack that will keep us all fit and strong. Just imagine similar stem cells being guided up and coaxed into healthy brain tissue to help fight Alzheimer’s!