January 20, 2013
Gene Therapy Creates Heart Pacemaker Cells

With gene therapy there's no need to miss a beat.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles created biological pacemaker cells by inserting a single gene, called Tbx18, into a virus and injecting the engineered virus into the hearts of guinea pigs bred to have arrhythmia.

The gene prompts the creation of an exact replica of a raisin-sized node in the heartís upper right chamber which normally maintains regular heart rhythms. Tbx18 transformed heart muscle cells, called cardiomyocytes, into a colony of natural pacemaker cells.

Combine this with gene therapies and cell therapies to fix or replace damaged heart muscle and we could cut out most death from heart failure.

How soon until heart repair becomes routine? I'm thinking some time in the 2020s or maybe the 2030s at the latest.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 January 20 10:11 AM 

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