Damaged hearts could mend themselves with the help of a method that coaxes stem cells to develop into cardiac cells, say researchers.
Scientists in China have unearthed a family of molecules that can transform stem cells into beating heart muscle cells, says a new study.
Scientists believe the discovery of cardionogen could pave the way to new treatment for heart disease, reported the Daily Mail, citing the study published in the Journal of Chemistry and Biology.
Tao Zhong, of Fudan University in Shanghai, who led the research, said: “Despite advances in medicine, management of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and heart failure remains a major challenge.”
“Developing therapies that can stimulate heart muscle regeneration in areas of infarction would have enormous medical impact,” he added.
Researchers tested the molecules on zebrafish, whose transparent embryos allow scientists to see cells during development.
They found the treatment enlarged the zebrafish heart by stimulating production of new cardiac muscle cells from stem cells. The same thing happened in tests on mice. The next step is to test cardionogen on human cells, said Tao.