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New strategies to improve treatment and avert heart failure in children
Date:4/23/2010

INDIANAPOLIS Structural and functional congenital cardiovascular abnormalities present at birth are the leading source of all congenital defects encountered in live births. Nearly half a million children in the United States have structural heart problems ranging in severity from relatively simple issues, such as small holes between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, including complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.

The April issue of the journal Pediatric Cardiology focuses on a recent meeting of pediatric cardiovascular experts from around the world who gathered at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children for the second annual Riley Heart Center Symposium on Cardiac Development. The next Riley Health Center Symposium on Cardiac Development is scheduled for September.

The experts attending the most recent symposium presented novel basic science and clinical research approaches that strive to reach a common goal - to improve treatment of, and ultimately to rapidly identify and prevent, the congenital cardiovascular defects and the subsequent damage acquired after birth that ultimately results in heart failure.

The symposium focused on molecular mechanisms that implement the instructions embedded within DNA that enable cells to form a functional heart. The key proteins studied called transcription factors regulate how other genes are turned on and off in a complicated ballet that ultimately instructs a cell to become a cardiomyocyte and where to move and how to function. When this dance goes a-rye, congenital heart defects are the unfortunate result.

"Although the process by which transcription factors regulate the expression of other gene products is well understood, how the many factors coordinate their functions to precisely define a cell's purpose is only now becoming possible to understand," said symposium co-organizer Anthony Firulli, Ph.D., profes
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Contact: Mary L. Hardin
mhardin@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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