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In their research article -- Pericytes are progenitors for coronary artery smooth muscle-- Volz et al. discuss a new cell type that could repair damaged arteries, which they discovered after tracking a single cell in a growing heart.
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, but there is currently no effective method to regenerate new coronary arteries in diseased or injured hearts. The findings in the journal eLife identified a progenitor cell type that could make it possible.
The study was carried out with mice but, as the blood vessels of the human heart are similar, it could lead to new treatments for the disease or to restore the flow of blood following a heart attack.
Examples of media coverage featuring this research can be found below: