Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

SC&CR Report Summary

Project ID: 502988
Funded under: FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH
Country: Italy

Final Report Summary - SC&CR (Application and process optimization of human stem cells for myocardium repair)

Myocardial infarction is an irreversible injury where a sudden interruption of blood flow caused by the occlusion of an artery, leads quickly to cardiac myocytes death, myocardial tissue loss and scar formation. Recent findings in animal models have provided evidences that somatic stem cells from different tissues can be phenotypically reprogrammed to the cardiac lineage and propagated in exogenous stem cell niches. This has suggested that stem cell-based therapies might be applied to induce myocardial regeneration after acute injuries as infarction or chronic diseases as heart failure.

The project arose as a joined effort of European scientists and clinicians to provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to the study of cardiac myocyte differentiation of stem cells and to develop valid strategies for myocardial repair.

Myocardial infarction is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in Europe and western countries. Therefore, the results of the present study will have an obvious and strong impact on the public health. Correct prevention and correct management of such disease may have profound impact on quality of life and health costs in all western countries.

The main exploitable achievements of the project include:
1) the characterisation of the functional properties of stem cell-derived cardiac myocytes;
2) an increased knowledge on the signals triggering stem cell proliferation / survival and recruitment into the infarct area and on the molecular pathways involved in cardiac differentiation;
3) the optimisation of protocols to obtain functional cardiac myocytes from somatic stem cells;
4) the determination of the safety of autologous administration of bone marrow derived cells in patients suffering chronic ischemic disease.

The project coordinator and each partner participated in public events involving medical- school students to present the results of this and other studies, in order to improve the students consciousness of these issues, very often too far from their every-day routine. The use of stem-cells is one of the major promises of the near future to manage and cure severe diseases.

The use of stem-cells in cardiac diseases, as well as the development of novel and effective protocols to isolate and expand stem cells, represent currently major goals of pharmaceutical industries. The potential market is enormous, considering the frequency of myocardial diseases and considering the on-going ageing of the world-population.

Related information

Reported by

PROVINCIA ITALIANA DELLA CONGREGAZIONE DEI FIGLI DELL'IMMACOLATA CONCEZIONE
ROME
Italy
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