Scientists managed to repair the heart muscles of mice following heart attacks, an achievement that’s a first in the field and that could impact the future of cardiovascular diseases.
Scientists have managed to heal the heart of mice who’ve experienced heart attacks. While the study doesn’t immediately translate to humans, it’s a first step in addressing a significant disease that affects thousands of people a year.
Researchers believe the two-part study (here and here), published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Aging, is a game-changer in the field, and could lead to new treatments for humans in the near future.
Researchers used a new technology, a synthetic mRNA tweaked to deliver instructions to the body. mRNAs carry protein information from the interior of a cell to its exterior, contributing to a growing protein chain. The synthetic mRNA changes the way in which the heart muscle works, making it function more like stem cells, and making them able to regenerate and heal themselves, something that they’re unable to do on their own.
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Heart attacks and heart disease are normally life-threatening conditions, difficult to overcome due to the nature of their cells. Once people are affected by a heart attack or cardiovascular condition, their hearts and systems are usually left in a more delicate place than they were before.
“The lab found cardiac myocytes multiplied quickly within a day, while hearts over the next month were repaired to near normal cardiac pumping function with little scarring,” explained Robert Schwartz, who’s the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professor of Biology & Biochemistry at the University of Houston.
While a lot of time likely stands between this study and its repercussions on humans, this is a big first step.
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Heart disease is currently the number one cause of death in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).