Initially it was believed that heart cells were not capable of regeneration and increase in the size of heart is due to cardiac hypertrophy. But, later with advent of several research and observations, researchers found that myocardial cells will also undergo hyperplasia, a natural process of heart growth.
Dr. Eduardo Marban, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, took the concept of regeneration and developed the “cardiosphere derived cells (CDCs)” to reverse the problems associated with aging of heart.These CDCs are a special type of stem cells that secrete tiny vesicles of cardiac stem cells at the vicinity of cardiac injury and helps to regenerate the lost myocardial cells.
Preclinical and human clinical studies were conducted by Dr. Marban on the application cardiac stem cells for the treatment of heart failure and the research was published in the European Heart Journal.
From the studies, predicted mechanism was that the injected CDCs secrete tiny vesicles consisting of signalling molecules such as RNA and proteins of young stem cells that contain all the needed instructions to repair the heart. Rats that received CDCs experienced improved heart function, improved exercise capacity, and demonstrated longer heart cell telomeres.
After Dr. Marban, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute has made significant contributions to decode the mechanism of regeneration of damaged heart muscle. Presently, the CDCs are under the human clinical trials in the name of CAP-1002, a product of Capricor Inc. (NASDAQ: CAPR).