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Adult stem cells reduce tissue damage in cardiovascular diseases

This was the assertion of the researcher Xabier López Aranguren, a biologist and biochemist at the University of Navarra

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FOTO: Manuel Castells
01/12/06 13:13 Mª Pilar Huarte

Xabier López Aranguren, a biologist and biochemist at the University of Navarra, has studied in his doctoral dissertation the use of adult stem cells in order to palliate damage to the tissues affected by cardiovascular diseases, which are one of the leading causes of death in the Western world. The results of his research have recently been published in the journal Blood.

"In these ailments, there is tissue death. The tissues cease to function because they do not receive sufficient oxygen or nutrients via the arteries," he stated. In his study he has identified "how adult stem cells can correct this damage, because they increase blood vessel density in these tissues, thanks to their capacity to differentiate (i.e. develop specific properties) into blood vessel-forming cells."

Specifically, this scientist from the CIMA and the University Hospital of the University of Navarra has used a type of adult stem cells which are called "multipotent" (MAPC), which, unlike others, "can grow for long periods of time and differentiate into a large variety of tissues, from liver cells to neurons."

Postdoctoral studies in Belgium

His research has demonstrated that, under determined conditions, the MAPC "are able to differentiate themselves into endothelial cells, which are the principal cells that form the blood vessels of the organism, and into other cells with characteristics specific to arteries." In addition, he argues that MAPC "may be a useful source of stem cells for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases."

After the defense of his doctoral dissertation, Xabier López Aranguren will perform postdoctoral studies for three years at the Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology at the University of Louvain (Belgium), where he will continue studying the therapeutic potential of the MAPC.

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