Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gene therapy boosts recovery from heart attack (UK)

Gene therapy boosts recovery from heart attack (UK)Gene therapy could be an effective way to improve survival rates among heart attack patients, new research funded by the British Heart Foundation suggests. Academics at the University of Bristol found that boosting levels of a natural growth factor in the heart could help the muscle to recover after a heart attack. The death rate from a heart attack was halved in mice that received the treatment. Heart attacks occur when a blood clot blocks off the blood supply to part of the heart muscle. Deprived of oxygen, the tissue dies and cannot regenerate. If the person survives, they can be left with a weakened heart that can't pump blood as effectively - causing severe ill health. Each year, around 140,000 people suffer a heart attack in the UK. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is so called because it promotes the growth of nerve cells, but Dr Costanza Emanueli, a BHF Senior Research Fellow, previously showed that it could also stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. In a new study published in the journal Circulation Research, Dr Emanueli and her team in Bristol investigated whether NGF could help the heart recover from a heart attack by encouraging new blood vessels to grow into and nourish the injured muscle

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