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A 'Holy Grail' heart failure cure could be on the horizon after scientists worked out how to regenerate specialised cells in the muscle.
Injecting the gene which drives cell growth in people's infancy could restore tissue which is damaged during a heart attack, a study on pigs has found.
People - Heart - Attacks - Patches - Forever
Currently, people who have heart attacks are left with patches of scarring which last forever and can lead to heart failure and ultimately death.
Scientists have failed to find a way to restore or remove this dead tissue and get the organ working normally again – but this discovery may change that.
Growth - Process - People - Babies - Experts
By restarting a growth process which ends when people are babies, experts may be able to force the heart to rebuild itself and become healthy again within weeks.
Researchers from King's College London injected the gene into the hearts of pigs and found their heart function went back to normal within a month of a heart attack.
Similarities - Pig - Hearts - Scientists - Treatment
And, because of the similarities between pig and human hearts, scientists hope the same treatment could be given to people within a decade.
'It is a very exciting moment for the field,' said Professor Mauro Giacca, a lead researcher on the study.
Attempts - Heart - Stem - Cells - Time
'After so many unsuccessful attempts at regenerating the heart using stem cells, which all have failed so far, for the first time we see real cardiac repair in a large animal.'
The pioneering treatment could one day offer hope for people suffering from heart failure, a deadly condition which affects more than 23million people worldwide.
People - UK - Condition - Heart - Attack
More than 900,000 people in the UK have the condition, which often follows a heart attack and happens when the organ is too damaged to...
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