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Scientists say they have found a new way to mend damage to the heart.
When cells turn into fully-formed adult heart muscle they stop dividing, and cannot replace tissue damaged by disease or deformity.
But a US team have found a way to coax the cells to start dividing again, raising hopes they could be used to regenerate healthy tissue.
It has long been thought that the heart was incapable of repairing itself.
Heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) proliferate during prenatal development, but were thought to lose that ability shortly after birth.
However, recent research has indicated that the adult cells do have some ability to replace themselves at a low level.
The latest study provides firm evidence that this is true - and that NRG1 can ramp up the process significantly.
The Boston team tested the ability of various molecules to spur cell division in cultured cardiomyocytes, including several factors known to drive proliferation of the cells during prenatal development.
The key ingredient is a growth factor known as neuregulin1 (NRG1 for short), and the researchers suggest that the factor might one day be used to treat failing human hearts. "To my knowledge, this is the first regenerative therapy that may be applicable in a systemic way," said Bernhard Kühn of Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School. For instance, he added, people might one day go to the clinic for daily infusions of NRG1 over a period of weeks. "In principle, there is nothing to preclude this going into the clinic. Based on the all the information we have, this is a promising candidate." He emphasized, however, that further studies would be required to demonstrate safety before such treatment could be tested in human patients.
Originally posted by kiwifoot
reply to post by DevolutionEvolvd
The funny thing about heart disease is you can be skinny and fit looking on the outside, but your heart could be buggered!