By Wendy Sarubbi | July 8, 2011 1:25 pm

A breakthrough from the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, which creates stem cells in the lab to heal diseased hearts, was recently published in “Molecular Pharmaceutics,” an influential journal on molecular systems of drug delivery.

The journal’s May edition features the research of College of Medicine Associate Professor Dinender Singla, who is investigating how tiny transplanted stem cells can “mend the broken heart.”

Approximately 1.5 million Americans have heart attacks each year, meaning blood vessels in the heart become blocked, leading to the death of heart cells.

Dr. Singla’s team has for the first time created mature, adult stem cells in the lab that are able to develop into any type of human body cell. When placed into the heart, these super cells repair and regenerate heart cells, thus increasing the heart’s pumping ability and improving overall cardiac health.

The new cells have several advantages. They can be created in large numbers in the lab, do not require the use of human embryonic cells and have the ability to create unique cells throughout the body, wherever they are transplanted.

“Through the use of genes, these cells can turn into any other type of cell,” Dr. Singla said. “This is a breakthrough. We are the first to do this. We are very excited about these findings.”

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