Taking a leaf out of science fiction books, researchers from the University College London have developed a new drug that helps the heart to repair itself following a heart attack.
The researchers tested the drug, known as thymosin beta 4, on mice and found that it was able to rejuvenate epicardium-derived progenitor cells that line the heart but are dormant.
Lead researcher Professor Paul Riley said that by "waking up" the adult epicardial cells, new heart muscles can be developed.
The drug, when taken in advance of a heart attack, not only helps the heart to repair itself, but also improved the pumping out of blood from the heart by 25 percent. While the researchers are excited by their findings, Professor Riley said that producing such a drug for the millions of heart patients across the globe was still some years away.