Scientists have long been developing stem cells that could repair or replace a damaged or diseased heart. This turns out to be very difficult, especially because the heart has very limited resilience. In hearts that have been damaged by an infarction, the developments are now quite advanced, such as explained in detail here. Prof. Dr. Marie-José Goumans in particular has been researching what is explained in this for quite some time this video.
Heart failure caused by cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) cannot yet be treated with stem cells.
At the Hubrecht Institute and the UMC Utrecht, the research group of Prof. Hans Clevers, professor of molecular genetics, has developed a revolutionary method. It is possible to grow liver stem cells in culture, so that a few cells are sufficient to obtain tissue. When these cells are injected into a diseased liver, they replace the diseased cells and the liver can function normally again.
This culture technique is already possible in pancreatic and intestinal stem cells and perhaps even more organs will be eligible for this in the foreseeable future!
The liver has a great self-healing capacity. If part of the liver is removed, it will grow back. If the remaining part is healthy, a fully functioning liver will return, but if the liver is diseased, the growing cells are also diseased and no effect is noticeable. The revolutionary thing about this discovery is that it is possible to grow healthy stem cells capable of producing the sick cells.
A heart muscle does not have a liver and the heart's ability to repair itself is extremely limited. but ... that does not alter the fact that this development can mean a breakthrough in the applicability of stem cells!