Heart failure, which kills thousands of people every year, will be possibly cured with an injection stimulating contraction of the heart muscles, according to a new study. Scientists have been able to completely change the condition of the animals by injecting them SUMO-1 gene and now they hope that human trials also will be successful.
The researchers argue that gene therapy can reduce the size of an abnormally large heart muscle, improve organ function and increase blood flow to it. Heart failure is a serious disease – the heart is weakened and unable to pump blood throughout the body. This disease affects over 2 million people in the US – mainly older people – and takes 300.000 lives every year.
There are methods of preventing the disease, but there is no cure. Clinical trials of gene «SUMO-1″ on humans, which is the missing link in patients with heart failure, will be carried out by injection directly into the affected organ. Gene therapy using SUMO-1 may be one of the first procedures that can really reduce the bad heart and greatly improve the life-sustaining functions of the body.
Now scientists are on the way to the approval of nutritional supplements and drugs to test the revolutionary treatment on American patients. This will be the second attempt to use gene therapy. The first experiment called CUPID is in the final phase – the stage of animal testing and clinical trials in patients have been successfully completed.
In this project, a gene known as SERCA2, produces an enzyme that is essential for proper excretion of calcium from the body’s cells, is injected with a harmless virus units. In the case of heart failure, gene SERCA2 strengthens the heart, while increasing it in size. The virus that caries SERCA2 is delivered through the coronary artery directly into the heart through tiny tubes. Studies show that only one dose of this medication can restore the healthy production of useful enzymes. SUMO-1 gene also reduces the risk of heart failure.
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