Researchers may have discovered an approach to reverse heart failure, a condition that affects nearly five million Americans and contributes to an estimated 287,000 deaths each year.
A signaling pathway called Hippo is typically highly active following a heart attack, according to a Newsweek article, preventing the muscle cells of the heart from proliferating and regenerating. By inhibiting the pathway in lab mice after inducing heart attacks, researchers at Baylor College of Medicine were able to see heart cell regeneration during a six-week trial.
In time, the hearts could pump blood as effectively as healthy hearts. Scar tissue also disappeared.
“We and multiple other labs have published evidence pointing to a role for the pathway in heart regeneration," lead study author James Martin told Newsweek. "The novelty of our current study is that the regenerative effect of removing the pathway extends into a very severe cardiac injury like heart failure."
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