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Great News when it comes to treating damaged heart tissue…

Researchers have made a major breakthrough in cellular reprogramming and organ regeneration.

Researchers at UNC School of Medicine have achieved a significant breakthrough in the process of regenerating organs and cellular reprogramming, which could have an impact on the development of future treatments for damaged hearts.

The team reprogramed scar tissue cells or fibroblasts into cardiomyocytes, or healthy heart muscle cells, using the gene activity-controlling protein Ascl1. While initially believed to be neuron-specific, Ascl1 was found to activate a set of cardiomyocyte genes.

“Reprogramming fibroblasts has long been one of the important goals in the field… Fibroblast over-activity underlies many major diseases and conditions including heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and the scar-like brain damage that occurs after strokes.”

— Li Qian, PhD

The researchers combined Ascl1 with another transcript factor Mef2c, resulting in a potent reprogramming cocktail that increased the efficiency of reprogramming by over ten times, with more than one targeted cell type able to benefit from major transcription factors used in direct cellular reprogramming.

This brings us a step closer to being able to regenerate organs and extend our lifespan despite would be catastrophic health events.

CREDIT Cell.com

Read the article – Scientists Discover Protein Partners that Could Heal Heart Muscle

Read the study – Cross-lineage potential of Ascl1 uncovered by comparing diverse reprogramming regulatomes

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