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Transforming scar tissue into beating hearts: The next instalment
Date:4/1/2012

London -- The latest research developments to reprogram scar tissue resulting from myocardial infarction (MI) into viable heart muscle cells, were presented at the Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2012 meeting, held 30 March to 1 April at the South Kensington Campus of Imperial College in London.

In a keynote lecture Dr Deepak Srivastava outlined his approach that has been described as a "game changer" with the potential to revolutionise treatment of MI. For the first time at the FCVB meeting, Srivastava presented the results of his latest studies using viral vectors to deliver genes directly into the hearts of adult mice that had experienced an MI. The FCVB meeting was organised by the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Science (CBCS) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

In his original "proof of principle" study, published August 2010 in "Cell", Srivastava was able to show that all that was needed for the direct reprogramming of fibroblasts (a major component of scar tissue) into myocytes (heart muscle cells responsible for beating) was the delivery of three genes. The work , which took place in a Petri dish, was considered groundbreaking since it showed for the first time that unrelated adult cells could be reprogrammed from one cell type to another without having to go all the way back to a stem cell state.

"Our ultimate hope is that, during the acute period following MI, patients will be able to receive direct injections of factors that transform the existing fibroblast cells in the "scar" into new myocytes. The resulting increase in muscle mass should help MI survivors to live more normal lives," explained Srivastava, who is director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, US.

Healthy heart tissue is composed of a mixture of several kinds of cells, including cardiomyocytes, which provide beating muscle, and cardiac fibroblasts, that provide architectural sup
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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
33-049-294-8627
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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