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Reliance Life Sciences develops stem cells to treat heart diseasesnews
Julie Singh
07 October 2002
Reliance Life Sciences (RLS) has successfully developed cardiac stem cell lines and is in the process of approaching regulatory bodies in India and abroad to obtain clearance to start the clinical programme, it is learnt.

Sources say RLS has already filed for US patent for the cardiomyocytes-based therapy. If RLS succeeds, it will be another milestone in its ambitious stem cell research programme. There are already seven embryonic cell lines developed by the company.

Experts say transplanted stem cells can offer a better solution to injured heart muscles and can help improve the cardiac function following a heart attack. ''Cardiomyocytes can prevent the development of a congestive heart failure,'' says a leading Mumbai-based cardiologist.

According to him stem cells hold the key for future treatments. ''Unlike normal cells, embryonic cells have the capacity to replicate manifold. Their efficacy has already been tried in many of the clinical conditions that defy a cure with conventional drug treatment, including neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.''

But a lot more data is needed to establish their therapeutic value before venturing into commercial use, he adds.

Research groups in Los Angeles, California, Boston and Tel Aviv are working on different mechanisms to differentiate and utilise stem cells - both adult and embryonic - to target chronic cardiac conditions where heart muscles are weak or when the patient cannot undergo an angioplasty or a bypass surgery or in patients with cardio-myopathy, say experts.

Heart attacks usually result in massive destruction or damage of heart muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes. This leads to the dysfunction of the blood pumping mechanism and heart failure. As of now the only remedy to heart failure is a transplant. But the lack of availability of cadaver hearts and exorbitant costs render transplantation a less acceptable option.


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Reliance Life Sciences develops stem cells to treat heart diseases