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FAU Receives Patent for Invention Which Induces and Restores Cardiac Muscle Function
Date:9/21/2007

Regenerating Damaged Cardiac Tissue Is Significant for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease

BOCA RATON, Fla., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Florida Atlantic University received U.S. patent no. 10/822,496, "Promoting Cardiac Cell Differentiation," based on an invention which induces and restores cardiac muscle function. The invention was discovered by FAU researcher and vice president for research, Dr. Larry F. Lemanski and his postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Chi Zhang. Their research has focused on understanding the mechanisms that regulate myocardial (heart muscle mass) cell differentiation and myofibrillogenesis (the process by which proteins in the heart are changed into heart muscle cells) in the developing heart. From their findings, these researchers hope to repair myocardial deficiencies in the human heart which are caused by either congenital heart defects or heart attacks.

Lemanski, Zhang and their colleagues at FAU have been looking at the cellular, molecular and genetic signals that affect heart cell differentiation and regulation of the synthesis of contractile proteins within cardiac muscle cells that allows cells to contract. Identifying the biological factors that induce this differentiation would be a major step forward in the development of therapies.

"When an individual has a heart attack with a significant region of the heart muscle damaged, recovery to pre-heart attack levels are rarely achieved," said Lemanski. "Strategies to regenerate damaged cardiac tissue could be significant in the treatment of cardiovascular disease."

Adult heart muscle cells lack the ability to regenerate following injury because of terminal differentiation. The number of heart cells is determined at birth and once damaged cannot repair themselves. Furthermore, many congenital abnormalities are thought to be caused by improper signaling between cells and tissues as a result of abnormal genes.

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SOURCE FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
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