Stem cell researcher to talk at Kent Cardiomyopathy Support Group

2nd October 2015

Stem cell researcher Dr Matthew Daniels will be talking about his work at a meeting of the Kent Cardiomyopathy Support Group later this month.

Dr Daniels, from Oxford University, leads a team finding out more about what causes inherited heart diseases, such as cardiomyopathy, with the help of affected patients’ skin cells.

Skin cells, like all cells of the body, carry the gene mutation causing genetic heart diseases, and can be made into heart cell models. These models can then be given various treatments to see if they work.

Dr Daniels, who leads the research team and is principal investigator from the BHF Oxbridge Centre of Regenerative Medicine, will be speaking at the Kent support group’s meeting on Saturday, 17 October 9.30am for 10am at the Mercure Maidstone Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne, Maidstone ME17 1RE.

He said : “This stem cell process, called cellular reprogramming, allows a cell to change its identity, for example from a skin cell to a stem cell. A stem cell can give rise to any cell type in the body, including heart cells.

“This is an important advance as scientists looking for better treatments need to understand the mechanism of why a particular mutation causes a particular pattern of heart disease.“

Obtaining heart cells from patients is not without risk and most of the cells begin to die within a few hours of removal. But heart cell models made outside the body from skin live almost a year.

Dr Daniels’ team has been awarded a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellowship Award of more than £1m to continue their work with Prof Hugh Watkins’ team at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford over the next few years.