New protein stimulates a damaged heart to repair itself
A new protein has been discovered which can help a damaged heart heal itself.
The molecule – known as Tbeta4 – stimulates cells around the outside of a failing heart to move deeper inside and assist repair of damaged muscle and tissue by forming new blood vessels. It may also eliminate immune system rejection caused by using stem cells from other sources.
Now British scientists hope that the “exciting” find will lead to new ways of treating coronary disease – easily the UK’s biggest killer. Tbeta4 appears to stimulate “blank” repair cells called progenitors, says the University College London Institute of Child Health team whose research is published online in the journal Nature.
Prof Colin Blakemore, of the Medical Research Council which funded the project with the British Heart Foundation, added: “Finding out how this protein helps to heal the heart offers enormous potential in fighting heart disease.”