Heart failure is a disease that currently affects nearly five million people in the U.S., and it’s also a disease that’s defined by cellular deficiency. What does this mean? According to Dr. Charles E. Murray, professor of cardiovascular pathology at the University of Washington, this means that there’s actually a pretty simple solution to the problem: all we need to do is figure out a way to replenish the deficiency and promote heart tissue regeneration, and this is exactly what he’s working on in his lab. By differentiating stem cells into human cardiac muscle cells, Dr. Murray has discovered a way to create an endless supply of heart cells. When injected into injured or dead portions of the heart, the cells begin doing exactly what they should—dividing, connecting with existing heart cells, and eventually beating right along with them. Re-muscularization of the heart in this way provides great promise for those who have heart attacks or deal with any variety of heart disease. Dr. Murray explains in detail the physiology of the heart, how differentiated stem cells are assimilated into existing heart tissue, the tools that are allowing for unprecedented research and new findings in the field, the relationship between the microbiome and heart function, and so much more.
Tune in for all the details, and find a recent TED Talk on the topic at https://www.ted.com/talks/