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

lotls (salamanders), these researchers identified a major protein that was deficient in these axolotl hearts which prevented the organization of myofibrils (contractile machinery) and the ability to beat. Using these findings, Lemanski, Zhang and their colleagues were able to show that this mutant defect could be rescued by treatment with specific and unique RNA (ribonucleic acid) derived from the anterior endoderm (gut) of normal animal model embryos. They cloned the gene for this specific RNA, synthesizing a "bioactive" RNA that is capable of rescuing mutant hearts by promoting the development and differentiation of contractile cardiac muscle cells from non-contractile, pre-cardiac, non-muscle cells.

Lemanski termed this discovery as "myofibrillogenesis inducing RNA" or MIR. Additional studies have shown that humans have a similar, most likely identical, mechanism as the axolotls, for the formation of functional contracting heart muscle cells. It may also be possible to produce new functional cardiac muscle tissue in areas of human hearts that require these cells and tissues for restoration of normal function.

"The issuance of this patent marks a tremendous achievement for Drs. Lemanski and Zhang as well as FAU, especially at a time when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) continues to implement a tougher examination process," said Stephen Nappi, director of technology transfer and assistant vice president for research at FAU. "To continue to build upon this momentum, we will aggressively seek to identify and recruit the right company to help us bring this important invention to patients with cardiovascular disease."

Taken into the clinical setting, a human version of this MIR may allow patients who have suffered from heart attacks and have impaired physical activities due to scar tissue in their hearts to have those scarred areas replaced with new cardiac muscle. This treatment would therefore enable them to return to pre-he
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SOURCE FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY
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