A group of investigators at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), led by clinical professor of cardiology Dr. Jonathan Tobis, says that it was recently able to develop a new, stem cell-based therapy against angina, a disease in which the heart does not receive sufficient amounts of blood.
The approach uses blood-derived stem cells from each individual patient to restore damaged blood flow to the heart. Before the treatment begins, scientists first create a 3D map of the patient's heart, which then guides the doctors as they perform the stem cell injections.
A model of the heart is created by using fluorescent dyes in an injection, as well as through measuring the voltages each sector of the heart produces. Lower voltages are indicative of damaged or scarred tissue that no longer performs normally.
“We are able to tell by the voltage levels and motion which area of the muscle is scarred or abnormal and not getting enough blood and oxygen. We then target the injections to the areas just adjacent to the scarred and abnormal heart muscle to try to restore some of the blood flow,” Tobis says.