Stem cells mend broken hearts

By Connie Orcutt • Published: June 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

Stem cells hold promise for healing formerly untreatable diseases. Pioneering researchers at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine are now investigating the possible use of these cells to repair canine heart disease.

Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into many types of tissues, including heart muscle. At UF, Doberman pinchers with dilated cardiomyopathy – a fatal heart condition – are being treated with adult stem cells from donor dogs to determine if the cells can keep the disease from progressing. The hope is that these cells will multiply, bringing new muscle cells into the heart and restoring heart function.

This type of treatment may offer huge benefits for affected Dobermans, and the technique may eventually benefit human medicine as well. Whether it’s cardiac disease or owner grief, this research just might mend a lot of broken hearts.