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Surprising Science

Repairing Damaged Heart Tissue

The secret to "mending broken hearts" has been discovered by scientists examining ways of repairing damaged tissue after heart attacks by using proteins similar to insulin. 

What’s the Latest Development?

“Injecting proteins similar to insulin directly into the heart can cause damaged cells to repair themselves and begin regenerating again, researchers said. Tests on pigs showed that the dormant cells could begin regrowth following a ‘regenerative medicine’ treatment using certain growth factors—naturally occurring proteins which cells use to communicate with their environment. Experts from Liverpool John Moores University said the four-year study presented a ‘significantly different’ therapy to those currently being developed by scientists.”

What’s the Big Idea?

The new findings, produced with teams from Italy and Spain, could lead to simpler and more affordable treatments for heart attacks. “Dr Bernardo Nadal-Ginard, Director of LJMU Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology Unit, said approaches currently being pursued in clinical trials were ‘time consuming’ and ‘expensive’. … “In contrast, this new approach by LJMU could ultimately lead to a clinical myocardial regenerative therapy which is effective, simple, affordable, readily and widely available and easy to apply and compatible with the current clinical standard of cardiac care.”


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