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Ear to the Ground

Scientists Find the ‘Holy Grail of Heart Research’

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Posted on Jun 8, 2011
Vintage Collective (CC-BY)

Researchers in the U.K. have found a way to make the hearts of mice repair themselves—a feat that the British Heart Foundation calls the “holy grail” (when applied to humans, we’re guessing).

A drug that makes for self-repairing hearts has obvious value, but would probably be less effective in humans and is 10 years away, according to those in the know.

Such a drug would have to be taken in advance of heart failure in order to be effective. A description of how it works is excerpted below.  —PZS

BBC:

In adults epicardium-derived progenitor cells line the heart, but have become dormant.

Scientists used a chemical, thymosin beta 4, to “wake them up”.

Professor Paul Riley, from the University College London, said: “The adult epicardial cells which line the muscle of the heart can be activated, move inward and give rise to new heart muscle.”

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