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Monday, March 20, 2023

Academics & Research

Stem cells may be key to treating heart attack patients

Drugs converting stem cells into heart muscle may be newest frontier in treating damage from heart attacks.

Known for his work with the pathways that manage heart formation before birth,

Robert Schwartz (above) gives the introduction for Mark Mercola (not shown), a professor from from Sansford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. | Bethel Glumac/The Daily Cougar

came to UH from Sansford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando to share his latest research on stem cells at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Rockwell Pavilion of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library.

The loss of 1 billion cells that normally takes place in a heart attack is devastating, Mercola said. Their team hopes to use small molecules to cause stem cells to become heart cells.

“We can take stem cells, and revert them back to those embryonic stem cells,” Mercola said. “What I’m giving you is a roadmap to come up with new drugs.”

Mercola lectured about the different methods in which he and his team are attempting to combat the lack of heart regeneration within the human body. The talk was open to all students, and featured a Q-and-A session afterwards.

“There have been screaming matches at meetings over techniques to regenerate the heart,” Mercola said.

Mercola said the techniques his team used in their researched found the lineage of cardiomyctes, describing how the team dyed them with a green protein.

Mercola said he hoped their works would lead to the ideal heart muscles that would result in a new class of drugs to stimulate regeneration of damaged heart muscle.

“This year we explored science in many aspects of life,” said biology professor Robert Schwartz.

Mercola was the last speaker in the Distinguished Lecture Series hosted by friends of Natural Science and Mathematics. The next lecture series will be focused on science’s role in energy.

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