A new US research project has discovered a means of converting scar tissue that forms after a heart attack into regenerated heart muscle.
The Duke University scientists have used microRNA techniques to essentially create "master switches" for genes, allowing them to regulate genetic expression in a way that converts fibroblasts into muscle cells.
Trials using cell cultures and laboratory mice have both proved a success, with this method offering various practical benefits compared to stem cells, as well as possible applications among stroke and spinal cord injury patients.
Next, the team will aim to study whether microRNAs can be used to repair damaged hearts in larger animals and improve heart function, with human studies being the ultimate goal.
For more information see Duke University.