MORE RESEARCH IS NEEDED
Stem cell research has the potential to dramatically change the way many cardiac and noncardiac diseases and injuries are
treated, including diabetes, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, and bone and cartilage diseases. CCT has garnered an
enormous amount of attention in the scientific community, and considerable resources and effort are being applied to its study.
Despite early promise, much work is still needed to ascertain the long-term efficacy of CCT and to refine transplantation
and cell culture techniques. The clinical evaluation of CCT is just beginning, and we need a better understanding of the fundamental
biologic processes that govern the behavior of these cells. For instance, little is known about the actual process of stem
cell differentiation and the specific cellular, genetic, and molecular events that lead to successful maturation and incorporation
into the surrounding tissue, nor is it known which adult cell population (e.g. myoblasts vs. bone marrow mesenchymal cells) is the ideal population for transplant. Future investigations should help answer
many of these questions and determine whether the promise of CCT can be realized.
The author would like to acknowledge co-investigators Tom Eurell, DVM, PhD, DABT, and Valentina Merola, DVM.
1. Suzuki K, Brand NJ, Smolenski RT, et al. Development of a novel method for cell transplantation through the coronary artery.
Circulation 2000;19(suppl 3):III359-III364.
The information and photographs for "On the Forefront" were provided by Mark A. Oyama, DVM, DACVIM (cardiology), Department
of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.