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Gene Therapy For A Broken Heart

  July, 29 2002 14:33
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Gene therapy for heart failure and chronic cardiac muscle diseases has been an elusive goal for many years. Use of cardiac gene therapy is limited by the short-term effects and low efficiency of gene transfer that accompanies the use of traditional viral vectors that carry the therapeutic gene.

In the August issue of Nature Medicine, Ken Chien and his colleagues at UCSD have created a more feasible strategy for treating chronic cardiac diseases by expressing a therapeutic gene (a calcium regulating gene, phospholamban) in a new vector. The authors also developed a new method for gene delivery, which involved injecting the gene directly into the coronary artery. The new technique resulted in cardiac-specific gene expression for many months at high levels.

The gene therapy treatment suppressed the progressive impairment of heart function and contractility for 28-30 weeks in a model of heart failure. Other indices of heart failure, low left ventricular pressure and deterioration in left ventricular relaxation, were also largely prevented by treatment. Thus, transcoronary gene transfer with these vectors may be a potential therapy for chronic cardiac muscle diseases.

Author contact:
Dr. Kenneth R. Chien
Department of Medicine
University of California at San Diego
La Jolla, CA, USA
Tel: +1 858 534 6835
E-mail: kchien@ucsd.edu

Also available online.

(C) Nature Medicine press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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