UCLA researchers find molecule that could delay, prevent heart failure

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Early research from University of California at Los Angeles has identified a molecule that could contribute to heart failure.

A study, published this month in the journal Nature Medicine, tested the effects of a molecule called chaer on animals. Results showed that blocking the molecule prevented them from developing heart failure.

Chaer, which comprises non-coding RNAs, is considered part of dark matter in biology since they are abundant and diverse in cells.

“The observation that a single [long non-coding RNA] molecule can activate a broad set of heart-failure related genes was a big surprise,” said Yibin Wang, the study’s lead author and a professor in the departments of anesthesiology, physiology and medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in a statement. “The findings provide us a better understanding of the molecular processes of heart failure, which we hope eventually to target with effective therapies.”

The discovery gives hopes to the 5.7 million patients afflicted by a heart failure condition. Current treatment methods can slow down the disease in its early stages but are generally ineffective once it progresses.

Researchers want to further explore a drug could be developed that blocks or reduces chaer production the heart, which would in turn restore healthy heart function and prevent or delay heart failure.