Helping the heart help itself

first_imgHuman trials of stem cell therapy for post-heart attack patients have raised as many questions as they have answered — because while the patients have tended to show some improvement in heart function, the stem cells do not appear to turn into heart cells or even survive.But in a featured paper published in the latest edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) provide a solution to the puzzle — and what appears to be a new use for stem cells.The stem cells being transfused into the patients may not be developing into new heart muscle, but they still appear to be beneficial. Some stem cells in the bone marrow, called c-kit+ cells, appear capable of stimulating adult stem cells already present in the heart to repair the damaged tissue.What this means, in effect, is that the c-kit+ stem cells are functioning much as a drug might, stimulating the heart’s own repair mechanism.“It seems that heart muscle is being made from heart stem cells that are already there,” said Richard T. Lee, who led the new study. Lee, a Harvard Medical School professor of cardiology at BWH and leader of the HSCI Cardiovascular Disease Program, notes that “there have been some adult stem cells found in the heart, but it hasn’t been clear under what circumstances they are active, and how to turn them on.“The study explains why some forms of cell therapy are helping the heart even though the cells themselves don’t survive inside the heart,” Lee said.Up to this point, researchers working in regenerative medicine have envisioned two basic roles for stem cells: They can be used as treatments, to be given to patients to directly replace lost cells and repair damage; and they can be used to model diseases in the laboratory, and serve as targets for traditional drug discovery and initial testing. The Lee paper suggests a third role for these ubiquitous cells: At least in the heart, they can apparently stimulate other stem cells to repair damaged tissue. In a heart attack, heart muscle dies, reducing the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. When that damage reaches a certain point, congestive heart failure, which is as lethal as many metastatic cancers, sets in.Results thus far from studies in humans — Lee’s study was done in mice — “have shown a small improvement in heart function, but a big enough improvement so there is potential to prevent heart failure,” Lee said.Lee said that the results in the mice, which had lost about 40 percent of heart function —the equivalent of a major human heart attack — showed “much better heart function when the stem cells were delivered.”Ideally, Lee said, researchers would like to find a chemical that would, like the c-kit+ stem cells, stimulate adult cardiac cells to repair heart attack damage.last_img read more

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Trouble looms as Nigeria’s Sports Ministry wants Harry Redknapp as coach with NFF desperate for Rohr stay

first_imgThe Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) faces a race to sign a new deal with current head coach Gernot Rohr as the country’s Sports Ministry reportedly prefers former Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp in charge.A source within the Football Federation told ESPN that there have been talks about getting rid of Rohr, with Redknapp the top favourite to get the job“People have their own interests and they have been whispering to people at the top,” the NFF source told ESPN.Rohr was named head coach of the Super Eagles in 2016, replacing Salisu Yusuf, with his contract expiring in June.However, the NFF is desperate to get him to sign a new contract, even fast-tracking the process to ensure a deal is done before his contract runs out.“The Executive Committee mandated the General Secretary to liaise with the Super Eagles’ technical adviser, Mr. Gernot Rohr, with a view to concluding all matters around Mr. Rohr’s new contract within the next one week,” the NFF said in a statement.However, the source believes the new deal with Rohr is all but done.“The minister is very understanding and he knows that we are taking our time to give the coach a contract that is good for everyone, but sometimes you have mischief-makers who try to put pressure from all directions, and the longer we take with this the more that pressure will build. And you know it is not very easy to resist pressure,” ESPN quoted the NFF source as having said.“For us, we already have everything done. It is just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.”Rohr himself was coy on whether a deal had been agreed.“Everything is fine. We all continue together,” he saidRohr led Nigeria to a third-place finish in their 2018 World Cup group and to third place at the 2019 AFCON,Nigeria have had seven different substantive head coaches since 2010, with Shuaibu Amodu and Stephen Keshi leading the side on two separate occasions in the last decade.Redknapp has managed a number of clubs in England including Portsmouth, with whom he won the 2008 FA Cup and Totteham, guiding the North London Club to the Champions League in the 2009-10 season.last_img read more

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Dede eyes Man United scalp

first_imgAndre Ayew is confident Olympique Marseille can cause a major upset and dump Manchester United out of the European Champions League on Tuesday night.Ayew and his Marseille team mates go into the tie at Old Trafford with the aggregate score at 0-0 and believes the French side have laid the foundation for progress in the competition.“It will be a tough game as most clubs who go to that stadium have learnt,” Ayew told KickOffGhana.com.“We have nothing to lose and we know an away goal will make a major difference. We just have to believe and give it our all.”Ayew has been key for Marseille this season, scoring goals and making them in equal measure. Against United he battled hard on the left flank reducing the effectiveness of their Portuguese winger Nani in the process. He even earned orates for the effort he put in that night but nothing will beat getting into the next stage at their expense.The first leg was hard work but the second leg will be even more difficult. The motivation to get the better of them is so huge. Source: Kickoff.comlast_img read more

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