How to mend broken hearts
A team at Liverpool John Moores University says that it has discovered how to mend broken hearts by examining ways of repairing damaged tissue after cardiovascular attacks, `The Daily Telegraph` reported.
Injecting proteins similar to insulin directly into the heart can cause damaged cells to repair themselves and begin regenerating again, the scientists say.
Tests on pigs showed that the dormant cells could begin regrowth following a "regenerative medicine" treatment using certain growth factors — naturally occurring proteins which cells use to communicate with their environment.
The scientists said their four-year study presented a "significantly different" therapy to those currently being developed by others researchers. And, the findings could lead to simple and affordable treatments for heart attacks.
Dr Bernardo Nadal-Ginard, who led the team, said that the approaches currently being pursued in clinical trials were "time consuming" and "expensive".
He said: "It is unlikely that they will have a major impact on the treatment of life-threatening diseases affecting millions of people, such as heart disease and failure.
"In contrast, this new approach by LJMU could ultimately lead to a clinical myocardial regenerative therapy which is effective, simple, affordable, readily and widely available and easy to apply and compatible with the current clinical standard of cardiac care."
Dr Nadal-Ginard said the research shows that injecting growth factors IGF-1 and HGF caused significant "anatomical, histological and physiological" regeneration of damaged hearts and "sets the path" for testing clinical trials.