Sadia Mohsin's study showed genetically-engineered human cardiac stem cells helped improve heart conditions after heart attacks in mice.
Mohsin led the study as part of the university’s Molecular Biology Laboratory Heart Institute.
An important development in cardiac health research was made, thanks to a study out of San Diego State.
SDSU post-doctoral scholar Sadia Mohsin's study, conducted with SDSU biology Professor Mark Sussman as part of the university’s Molecular Biology Laboratory Heart Institute, showed that genetically engineered human cardiac stem cells helped repair damaged heart tissue and improved function after heart attacks in mice.
“This study brings us one step closer to a clinical application for stem-cell therapy,” Mohsin said.
About the study
Researchers used cardiac stem cells derived from patients receiving mechanical assist device pumps to help their failing hearts. They then genetically engineered the cells to express Pim-1, a protein that naturally occurs in response to heart damage. Using molecular technology, the researchers attached Pim-1 to fluorescent green protein taken from jellyfish to make the Pim-1 expression clearly visible.
After implanting the genetically engineered Pim-1 and non-modified human cardiac cells into mice given experimentally-induced heart attacks, the researchers compared heart function between the treatment and control groups.
We are expecting a lot more from this study to understand tissue regeneration and repair in a human-sized heart.
Tissue repair and function, as measured by the heart’s ability to pump blood, doubled 10 weeks after investigators implanted the genetically engineered human stem cells into the mice. This improvement continued for at least 20 weeks, “which is a long time compared to normal non-modified cells,” Mohsin said.
“Since patients with heart failure are normally elderly, their cardiac stem cells aren’t very healthy,” she added. “We were able to modify these stem cells, obtained from heart failure patients, to be healthier so that they could be transplanted into the heart and survive and thrive.”
The Molecular Biology Laboratory Heart Institute is now working with the University of Miami to conduct this study on a larger scale, using pigs.
“We are expecting a lot more from this study to understand tissue regeneration and repair in a human-sized heart,” Mohsin said.
Ultimately, the goal is to translate their basic research findings into clinical treatment of heart failure.