Staff Reporter

The stem cell is transplanted into an affected heart

Patients need no bed rest; can be discharged in a day

TIRUPATI: The painstaking research for six years has yielded fruit. Tirupati-based Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS University) has successfully developed what is claimed to be the country’s first-ever cardiomyocyte, the stem cell meant for transplantation into an affected heart to correct the anomaly.

The path-breaking development has been approved and carried as the cover story in the prestigious Indian Heart Journal.

Pure stem cells can be isolated from peripheral blood, cultured in vitro, induced to develop into cardiomyocytes and subsequently into Cardiomyogenesis (CMG). Following the approval of the protocol by the Institutional Ethical Committee, the SVIMS authorities set the research project in motion after it was formally inaugurated by the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in the year 2002.

Interestingly, it was a security worker C. Murugeshan who volunteered to donate his stem cells for the pioneering research. Chennai-based K.M. Cherian Heart Foundation has been a key partner of SVIMS in utilising this technique for curing patients with acute heart ailments.

“With the knowledge of developing cardiomyocyte from adult stem cell, it is now possible to transplant them into the same patient to hasten the correction of the diseased heart,” Dr. Subramanyam, himself a cardiologist, told media persons here on Thursday. He also explained that the patients M.V. Krishna Reddy and P. Beebijan, who had been treated using the above technique, were leading a healthy life.

Mr. Sarma explained that the stem cells would take 17-20 weeks to develop, while cells from the embryo were the most preferred. The patient needs no bed rest and can be discharged in a day. Further, it will cost no more than Rs.15,000 for the stem cell transplantation, which is expected to be a boon to those suffering from heart diseases.