Houston establishes itself as a pioneer in regenerative medicine

Houston Chronicle (Chron.com)

Baylor College of Medicine is invested in research that might prevent cerebral palsy by coaxing cells into the brain to produce myelin, which foster communication between nerve cells.Children with brain injuries are benefitting from stem cell research at UT Health Science Center at Houston Medical School.At the Texas Heart Institute, a dream team of scientists that includes Taylor are studying various ways to compel damaged hearts to self-repair, including zeroing in on the best stem cells to use for treatment."Our goal in research at the Texas Heart Institute is ultimately to prevent cardiovascular disease, and along those lines make it tolerable for people to relieve symptoms, their pain and help improve their overall lifestyle," said James T. Willerson, the Institute's president.Because of their potential to repair damaged organs, Willerson got interested in stem cells in the 1990's and began working with them in animal research.In 2000, that research took a monumental leap when he and a Brazilian colleague, Emerson C. Perin, got approval to perform the first ever injection of human stem cells into 14 patients suffering from advanced heart failure in Rio de Janeiro.In a 2015, he was the lead author on a study that found injecting 150 million precursor mysenchymal cells into patients with severe heart failure prevented future heart attacks, death, and worsening heart failure.The technology to create iPSC's combined with a brand new genome editing tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 are giving scientists a new way to detect genetic mutations and possibly fix flaws that in the past caused debilitating diseases.

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