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By mutating human scar cells into blood vessels, scientist at Houston Methodist have detected a new method of repairing damaged tissue by reviving human scar cells into blood vessel cells. The method described in an forthcoming problem of Circulation and appeared to increase oxygenation, blood flow as well as to the areas that are in need.

According to cardiovascular scientists, fibroblast cells that are bountiful throughout the body can be induced to become endothelium, a different type of adult cells that forms lining of blood cells. They further added that this is the first time a trans-differentiation process using small molecules and proteins has been achieved. According to the MD, PhD of Houston Methodist Research Institute Department, we have ultimately found a new way to convert fibroblasts into shapeshifters.

According to Cooke: earlier the research groups persuaded to generate endothelial cells using infectious virus particles that as engineered to deliver gene manipulating DNA into cells. In order to transform the gene expression patterns, this DNA encodes protein which is known as the transcription factors. In this way the cells managed to behave like an endothelial cells. But, there were complications while using viruses to transfer genes into the cells. The process has the tendency to damage the patient’s chromosomes.

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This new method of regenerative medicine approach successfully provided proof concept for small molecule therapy that can successfully be used in future to heal cardiovascular damages or other injuries. According to researchers, the rate for the transformation of fibroblasts into endothelial cells was nearly 2%, but John Cooke, the Director of Houston Methodist Research Institute believes that rate can be increased up to 15%.

Functioning of Scar cells

  • The scar forming cells don’t add any function to damaged area but only patches up the damage.

Method of Transformation

  • Fibroblasts are exposed to small molecules known as poly:I:C.
  • A small segment of RNA gets bind to the cell receptor called TLR3.
  • This makes the false environment thinking that they are being attacked by virus.
  • This fake virus attack results in other genes to get expressed by the scar forming cells.
  • Treating them with the growth factor VEGF, the process gets complete.


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