As per the research published online in Stem Cell Reports on May 9, 2019, Thomson Lab highlighted its work which shows the smooth muscle cells can be grown in a better way. This research is a giant step towards generating artery from pluripotent stem cells.
We are already aware that the medical scientists for some years are working relentlessly to make first artery transplantation possible. For years, researchers are working on creating artery banks just like blood banks. The objective was to make proper arteries available to replace the blocked arteries responsible for millions of deaths around the world. The study published in the famous journal 'Stem Cell Reports' invoked great hope that the days are not far when diseased arteries can be changed during surgery.
The report made many detailed revaluations corresponding to the stem cell research to create healthy arteries. The researchers are now working on growing smooth muscle cells that play a crucial role in developing the walls of the arteries by using the pluripotent stem cells. The same research also highlighted the positive effect of a particular drug in minimising the death risks for the patient in the post-bypass-surgery period.
As per the version of the researchers, they mainly concentrated on the blood vessels as they were aware of the huge number of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases globally. Their concerns are well-founded as most medical data confirm such alarming condition of the impact of cardiovascular diseases on life expectancy. As various studies indicate, in US alone heart disorders and stroke are the primary causes of most number of deaths.
Coming to the research output cited by the published report in the journal, we can be very hopeful about the developments. Basically, for the production of the arteries in the medical laboratory, two primary types of cells are required, respectively, endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. A couple of years ago in 2017, the same laboratory showed us how researchers were successful in producing and characterising endothelial cells. By then, researchers were not able to produce smooth muscle cells.
Now, researchers made a giant forward stride in producing the smooth muscle cells from stem cells. But the head of the researchers in the project, Mr Jue Zhang said that the extensively used growth factors for the production of such cells can result in intimal hyperplasia, a common reason behind the failure of the bypass graft.
As per the medical science, intimal hyperplasia is a condition in which thickening of a portion of the arterial wall takes place and this in turn actually narrows down the blood vessel. Now according to him, researchers are working on creating a protocol that can reduce this risk of intimal hyperplasia. On the other hand, healthy and smooth muscle cells by contracting with each other help circulating blood better throughout the body and this reduces the risk of blood pressure.
As scientific community quickly went to create a buzz about the possibility of creating a never-before breakthrough for cardiovascular diseases with this research, the researchers are saying that there is still another big challenge and that is all about cell maturity. According to the researchers, the smooth cells produced now are not mature enough to match the real cells of our arteries yet. We hope this last stumbling block will be removed soon through further research.