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Vanita Srivastava , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 03, 2014
A team of scientists at IIT Madras are developing stem cells to grow into cardiac cells, which can eventually lead to treatment of severe heart problems. The cells will now be surgically administered into specifically created rat models at the Central Drug Research Laboratory in Lucknow. The project is being funded by the department of Biotechnology.

“We have developed cardiac patches isolated from biological material and proved the functionality of the cells. These patches when put into the ischemic heart can help reverse the dying cells,” says Rama S Verma, professor, department of biotechnology, IIT-M.

Stem cell therapy holds a lot of promise in the field of medical science, he said adding: “Besides opening new avenues this may also help in preventing an organ transplant.”

After the patches are surgically administered in the rats, he said: “We will check for all the physiological parameters like heart rate and blood flow. This will then help us in analysing the survival rate.”

Besides heart, IIT-M scientists are also experimenting with stem cells for treating liver diseases.  They have programmed stem cells derived from cord blood and bone marrow to grow into liver cells.  The cells were grown in a special polymer gel.

“If the trials on animals prove to be successful, we will move on to experimenting on humans,” he added.