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Gene therapy reprograms scar tissue in damaged hearts into healthy heart muscle
Date:1/4/2013

cocktail of transcription factor genes called GMT) or an inactive material. (A transcription factor binds to specific DNA sequences and starts the process that translates the genetic information into a protein.)

The GMT genes alone reduced the amount of scar tissue by half compared to animals that did not receive the genes, and there were more heart muscle cells in the animals that were treated with GMT. The hearts of animals that received GMT alone also worked better as defined by ejection fraction than those who had not received genes. (Ejection fraction refers to the percentage of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle or pumping chamber of the heart.)

The hearts of the animals that had received both the GMT and the VEGF gene transfers had an ejection fraction four times greater than that of the animals that had received only the GMT transfer.

Rosengart emphasizes that more work needs to be completed to show that the effect of the VEGF is real, but it has real promise as part of a new treatment for heart attack that would minimize heart damage.

"We have shown both that GMT can effect change that enhances the activity of the heart and that the VEGF gene is effective in improving heart function even more," said Dr. Crystal.

The idea started with the notion of induced pluripotent stem cells reprograming mature specialized cells into stem cells that are immature and can differentiate into different specific cells needed in the body. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John B. Gurdon received the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for their work toward this goal this year.

However, use of induced pluripotent stem cells has the potential to cause tumors. To get around that, researchers in Dallas and San Francisco used the GMT cocktail to reprogram the scar cells into cardiomyocytes (cells that become heart muscle) in the living animals.

Now Rosengart and his colleagues have gone a step farther encoura
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Contact: Lauren Woods
Law2014@med.cornell.edu
646-317-7401
Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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