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Prevent Heart Failure With Gene Therapy

by Tanya Thomas on October 9, 2009 at 8:40 AM
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 Prevent Heart Failure With Gene Therapy

Gene therapy could act as a tool to improve an ailing heart's ability to contract properly and prevent heart failure, according to scientists from the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota.

The study has paved the way for a day when "closed heart surgery" via gene therapy is as commonly prescribed as today's cocktail of drugs.


"We hope that our study will lead some day to the development of new genetic-based therapies for heart failure patients. The advent of molecular motor-based gene transfer for the failing heart will hopefully improve cardiac function and quality of life for heart failure patients," said Dr. Todd J. Herron.

For the discovery, the researchers treated heart muscle cells from the failing hearts of rabbits and humans with a virus (adenovirus) modified to carry a gene which produces a protein that enables heart cells to contract normally (fast molecular motor) or a gene that becomes active in failing hearts, which is believed to be part of the body's way of coping with its perilous situation (slow molecular motor).

They found that heart cells treated with the gene to express the fast molecular motor contracted better, while those treated with the gene to express the slow molecular motor remained unaffected.

"Helping hearts heal themselves, rather than prescribing yet another drug to sustain a failing organ, would be a major advance for doctors and patients alike.

Equally important, it shows that gene therapy remains one of the most promising approaches to treating the world's most common and deadliest diseases," said Dr. Gerald Weissmann, Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal.

The study has been published online in the FASEB Journal. (ANI)

|Broadcaster defends decision to show England-Ukraine match on web|Sports[London{London, Oct.6 (ANI): Sports rights agency Kentaro, which has a long-term deal with the Ukranian FA to market rights, has defended its decision to show England-Ukraine World Cup qualifier in Ukraine only on the Internet, insisting that this represents the future of sports broadcasting.

Fans will be asked to pay between 4.99 pounds and 11.99 pounds, depending on when they sign up, to watch the match on their computer and it will also be screened in selected Odeon cinemas, The Guardian reports.

Kentaro revealed last month that it planned to work with online sports broadcaster Perform to show the match live online after not receiving any bids for the match from conventional broadcasters.

The game was left without a TV broadcaster after Setanta, which held the rights to England's away matches through a deal with Kentaro, collapsed in June.

Mark Perryman, Englandfans spokesman, attacked the idea: "I find it outrageous. FIFA and UEFA should make it a condition of entry to World Cup and European Championship qualifying campaigns that games must be sold only free-to-air, both to the home market and the away market. Where England fans are being sold short is not in this instance by their own FA, but by foreign FAs selling the game to the highest bidder, and in this instance it's an Internet outfit."

Perform has signed up partners, including the Sun, the Times, News of the World, the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Daily Star, the Independent, Virgin Media and Orange, to market the match through their websites on a revenue-share basis.

"In six months' or a year's time this will be ordinary business," said Kentaro chief executive Philipp Grothe. "I have received a lot of calls from people around the globe who are looking into this. It's not a one-off trial here."

The FA, in particular, is likely to be keeping a close eye on the success of the experiment as it attempts to fill a 75 million pound hole in its budget caused by the collapse of Setanta.

Criticism is likely to intensify, however, if Kentaro does not agree a deal to offer highlights on terrestrial television.

Source: ANI


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