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Home Science Bad Science 'Heart repair pill' still years away

'Heart repair pill' still years away

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“A drug that makes hearts repair themselves has been used in research on mice,” BBC News has reported.

The news is based on an early set of laboratory and animal experiments. Researchers identified cells in the outer layer of the heart that can develop into mature heart cells and replace injured heart tissue after being treated with a specific protein. These “progenitor cells” have the ability to develop into new heart muscle cells in embryos, but cannot normally do so in adults. However, researchers have found that dormant progenitor cells can be activated in adult mice by injecting them with a specific protein. When these mice were induced to have a heart attack, some of the treated progenitor cells developed into new heart muscle cells, integrating into the heart tissue and functioning as part of the organ.

This research is at a very early stage, and further studies on the effectiveness and safety of such treatment in animals will be needed before human studies can be carried out. In particular, if the biological mechanisms discovered also apply to humans, research will need to establish if the protein could have an effect if administered months or years before a heart attack, or even after one. This study mainly looked at administering the protein before heart damage occurred. Overall, despite the possibilities presented by this early research, a pill that can regenerate human hearts is still some years off.

That is the official story, but what they aren't telling you is that this is a pill that never needs to be created at all.  The "specific protein" is a common protein found in the body.  In other words you already have it.  Particularly if you are a healthy person who eats well and exercises regularly.  Why buy a patented pill to do what your body already does on it's own if you live a healthy lifestyle?

The other catch that they don't mention is that if they did create a pill of this protein, if would only be effective (they would tell you) if you are taking it before you have any heart problems.  This way they can make you take a pill for a lifetime just in case you might need it someday.  What a great product! Huh?

All this looking for drugs to create gets really ridiculous sometimes.


Links To The Headlines

Drug makes hearts repair themselves. BBC News, June 8 2011

Discovery gives heart patients hope. Daily Mirror, June 9 2011

Turning back the cellular clock could repair damage after a heart attack. The Guardian, June 9 2011

Pill that 'mends broken hearts' by tricking damaged tissue. Daily Mail, June 9 2011

Heart attack breakthrough 'exciting'. The Daily Telegraph, June 9 2011


Links To Science

Smart N, Bollini S, Dubé KN et al. De novo cardiomyocytes from within the activated adult heart after injury. Nature, 2011


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Last Updated on Thursday, 28 July 2011 20:36  

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