Programmed muscle

Date:29 September 2012 Tags:, , ,

Heart attack survivors are often left with scar tissue that hinders the organ’s ability to pump blood, leading to problems as serious as heart failure. Scientists at Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina, USA, are “reprogramming” that scar tissue into new heart muscle, using microRNA molecules that control gene activity in the individual cells. The new technique has been successfully demonstrated in a living mouse and may turn out to be more practical than competing approaches using stem cells. The next step is to try it in larger animals; it could take up to a decade to reach human trials. – Alex Hutchinson