A little more than a decade ago, researchers discovered that all cells secrete tiny communications modules (now called “exosomes”) jammed with an entire work crew of messages for other cells. Today, a team of researchers, led by stem cell researcher Raj Kishore, Ph.D., Director of the Stem Cell Therapy Program at the Center for Translational Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine (TUSM), is harnessing the exosomes excreted by stem cells and using them to induce the damaged heart to repair itself. Their research is the June 19, 2015 cover story in the leading cardiovascular research journal, Circulation Research. The article is titled “Embryonic Stem Cell–Derived Exosomes Promote Endogenous Repair Mechanisms and Enhance Cardiac Function Following Myocardial Infarction.” The cover description was titled “Cardiac Reparative Potential of ESC Exosomes” and the cover image was described as follows: “Exosomes promote p-histone 3+ cardiomyocytes in the heart. Image shows a p-histone 3 and sacromeric actin double-labeled myocyte in the heart that received exosomes derived from mouse embryonic stem cells at day 5 after myocardial infarction. phistone 3 (green), sarcomeric actin (red), and nuclei (blue). Scale bar=20 µm. "If your goal is to protect the heart, this is a pretty important finding," Dr. Kishore said. "You can robustly increase the heart's ability to repair itself without using the stem cells themselves. Our work shows a unique way to regenerate the heart using secreted vesicles from embryonic stem cells." The group is also beginning to determine which members of the "work crew" within the exosomes may be responsible for the damage repair. The heart, for all its metronomic dependability, has little ability for self-repair.
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