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Heart ‘could be taught to repair itself’ claim

Research on mice appears to show that the heart can repair itself under certain circumstances. Picture: TSPL

Research on mice appears to show that the heart can repair itself under certain circumstances. Picture: TSPL

  • by JOHN VON RADOWITZ
 

Artificial genetic molecules can be used to repair damage caused by heart attacks, scientists have shown.

Treatment, successfully tested in mice, consists of a single injection of the messenger ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule, which contains the code for making a growth protein.

Study leader Professor Kenneth Chien, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said: “This is the beginning of using the heart as a factory to produce growth factors for specific families of cardiovascular stem cells, and suggests that it may be possible to generate new heart parts without delivering any new cells to the heart itself.”

There was also some evidence of renewed heart muscle, though not enough to have contributed to the improved outcomes. Scientists believe work may lead to significant heart muscle reconstruction, according to a report in the latest edition of Nature Biotechnology.

 

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