Researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified a tiny portion of RNA (miR-25) that blocks a gene (SERCA2a) that regulates the flow of calcium within the heart cells. The block of this gene is one of the main causes of enlargement of the heart muscle cells that ultimately result in heart failure.
The research team discovered through a screening system that the portion of RNA delays adequate calcium uptake in the heart cells in patients suffering from heart failure.
The researchers also found that injecting a different small piece of RNA that inhibits the effects of miR-25 dramatically halted the progression of heart failure in mice. This eventually improved their heart function and survival rate.
Nearly 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure, one of the main reasons for hospitalization of the elderly. Currently, the only medications on the market only provide temporary relief to heart failure patients and fail to improve cardiac function or halt the progress of the disease.
The research team is developing new gene therapies that may improve the quality of life and chances of survival for patients suffering from heart failure.
Information compiled from Sciencedaily.com.