UMCG has developed a new research technique in which cardiac cells can be grown from skin cells. Until recently, research on heart disease at the cell level was almost impossible, but this technique allows it.
UMCG's Martijn Hoes researcher will receive a doctorate on this subject on Wednesday. He did research on heart failure in pregnant women. With the new cell technique, it has been shown that the cause of heart failure is the result of fatty acid metabolism in the heart. The UMCG calls the new revolutionary method.
Blood is not enough
"Very little is known about heart failure in women." Further knowledge about this can help with early recognition of heart failure, "says Hoes. With heart failure, the heart muscle is no longer able to pump enough blood through the body.
The new research method offers many possibilities, says a doctoral student. "You can not just get some cells from the heart muscle to test," explains Huas. "It is possible for many other tissues, but it is not desirable for the heart."
Grow any type of cell
Thanks to new techniques, Hoes was now able to examine cardiac cells. "Now we can convert skin cells into stem cells and grow them into any kind of cell, and therefore heart cells too."
"A healthy heart gets energy by burning fat … If the heart goes into trouble – in the case of a disease – the heart goes to sugar, it is less effective in the long run and therefore soon leads to heart failure."
During pregnancy fat burning is stimulated further. "In women with heart failure, it also happens, but for some reason can not really burn fat, then the sugar is still in use."
The study of Hoes primarily aims to better understand why some women get heart failure around their pregnancy and eventually come to a better diagnosis and treatment.
"We know that heart failure in these patients is repeated with any pregnancy and can lead to serious health problems, and early diagnosis and proper treatment can therefore prevent birth-related problems."
– UMCG-prof receives Europe million subsidy for heart research