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Pennsylvania Hospital surgeon receives grant to develop molecular cardiac surgery
Date:11/28/2007

expression in animals other than rodents and mice.

The molecular cardiac surgical approach has an added advantage since genes are expressed only in the heart, enhancing the safety of this approach over all other available gene delivery methods. The preliminary success of molecular cardiac surgery opens the door to developing new treatments for a variety of heart muscle diseases causing heart failure.

A carrier called a vector is used to deliver the specially designed beneficial genes (transgenes). The most common vector is a virus that has been genetically altered. Viruses have evolved ways of delivering their genes to human cells in a pathogenic manner. Researchers have taken advantage of this capability by removing disease-causing genes from the virus and inserting therapeutic genes. The vector then discharges the therapeutic genes into the target cell. The new grant will enable Dr. Bridges to move beyond his work with marker genes and begin testing his findings using therapeutic genes in sheep with heart failure.

Dr. Bridges closely collaborates with Hansell Stedman, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bridges and Dr. Stedman jointly have several U.S. and international patents for the efficient use of vectors in gene delivery to cardiac and skeletal muscle. Prior to their work, delivery techniques in common use typically resulted in one-to-two percent expression of therapeutic genes in the target cells. Dr. Bridges and Dr. Stedman generate successful delivery rates approaching 100 percent in both skeletal and cardiac muscle. In addition, their delivery methods enable safe removal of the delivery device once the therapeutic genes are delivered. This substantially reduces the risk of harm to other organs in the body.

"This grant will enable us to build on the advances my colleagues and I have been fortunate to achieve," says Dr. Bridges. "Molecular cardiac surgery offers genuine prom
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Contact: Lee-Ann Landis
landisl@uphs.upenn.edu
215-829-8043
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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