Scientists have discovered a new and abundant pool of stem cells in the heart that could be used in a variety of new treatments in future.
A team led by the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia have found cardiac stem cells located both in developing and adult hearts, in the vicinity of blood vessels.
Research has shown that these cells have the capacity for long-term expansion and are also multipotent, meaning they can form a variety of cell types, including muscle, bone, neural and heart cells.
Richard Harvey, a member of the research team, suggested that the discovery could prove an important first step in developing treatments that would allow damaged heart tissue to be regenerated.
"If we are serious about organ regeneration, we need to understand the biology," he said.
Last month, the University of Southern California published a study showing that greater control of immune responses to stem cell infusions could be the key to improving their effectiveness.See all the latest jobs in Science