The causes of heart failure are many including genetic abnormalities. Earlier studies have shown that malfunctioning of a gene called phospholamban contributes to heart failure and this discovery is now being used as a basis for a gene therapy approach in protecting against heart failure.
The research which was carried out on hamsters born predisposed to heart failure showed that delivering a gene that helps the heart to contract protects from heart failure. Researchers said that the animals' heart function improved when they were delivered a modified form of the gene phospholamban. They found that those animals who got the gene were protected against heart failure while those who did not get the gene were not protected.
Researchers hope they will be able to use a cardiac catheter to deliver the gene to humans, if further research on pigs, which is underway, proves to be successful.