Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Pharma Outsourcing
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Transplanting Gene into Injured Hearts Creates Biological Pacemakers

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Researchers develop first minimally invasive gene therapy procedure to treat heart rhythm disorders by transforming ordinary heart muscle cells into specialized rhythm-keeping cells, potentially eliminating future need for electronic pacemakers.

Cardiologists at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have developed a minimally invasive gene transplant procedure that changes unspecialized heart cells into “biological pacemaker” cells that keep the heart steadily beating.

The laboratory animal research, published online and in print edition of the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine, is the result of a dozen years of research with the goal of developing biological treatments for patients with heart rhythm disorders who currently are treated with surgically implanted pacemakers. In the United States, an estimated 300,000 patients receive pacemakers every year.

“We have been able, for the first time, to create a biological pacemaker using minimally invasive methods and to show that the biological pacemaker supports the demands of daily life,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, who led the research team. “We also are the first to reprogram a heart cell in a living animal in order to effectively cure a disease.”

These laboratory findings could lead to clinical trials for humans who have heart rhythm disorders but who suffer side effects, such as infection of the leads that connect the device to the heart, from implanted mechanical pacemakers.

Eugenio Cingolani, MD, the director of the Heart Institute’s Cardiogenetics-Familial Arrhythmia Clinic who worked with Marbán on biological pacemaker research team, said that in the future, pacemaker cells also could help infants born with congenital heart block.

“Babies still in the womb cannot have a pacemaker, but we hope to work with fetal medicine specialists to create a life-saving catheter-based treatment for infants diagnosed with congenital heart block,” Cingolani said. “It is possible that one day, we might be able to save lives by replacing hardware with an injection of genes.”

“This work by Dr. Marbán and his team heralds a new era of gene therapy, in which genes are used not only to correct a deficiency disorder, but to actually turn one kind of cell into another type,” said Shlomo Melmed, dean of the Cedars-Sinai faculty and the Helene A. and Philip E. Hixson Distinguished Chair in Investigative Medicine.

In the study, laboratory pigs with complete heart block were injected with the gene called TBX18 during a minimally invasive catheter procedure. On the second day after the gene was delivered to the animals’ hearts, pigs who received the gene had significantly faster heartbeats than pigs who did not receive the gene. The stronger heartbeat persisted for the duration of the 14-day study.

“Originally, we thought that biological pacemaker cells could be a temporary bridge therapy for patients who had an infection in the implanted pacemaker area,” Marbán said. “These results show us that with more research, we might be able to develop a long-lasting biological treatment for patients.”

If future research is successful, Marbán said, the procedure could be ready for human clinical studies in about three years.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Salford Lung Study - The First Real World Clinical Trial
In this podcast, we learn about the Salford Lung Study and its potential to revolutionize the way we assess new drugs and treatments around the world.
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Could Help Treat Depression
Anti-inflammatory drugs could be used to treat some cases of depression, which further implicates our immune system in mental health disorders.
NIH Contributes to Global Effort to Prevent and Manage Lung Diseases
The large scale trial will measure health benefits of clean cookstoves.
Questioning the Safety of Selenium to Combat Cancer
Research indicates the need for change in practice as selenium supplements cannot be recommended for preventing colorectal cancer.
Scientists at NIH and Emory Achieve Sustained SIV Remission in Monkeys
The finding suggest that the immune systems of these animals are controlling SIV replication in the absence of antiretroviral therapy.
Painting the Way to Tumour Imaging
Tumour paint used in emergency surgery to aid cell identification for surgeons.
Anti-Cancer Drug Uses Tumour mRNA to Identify Responders
Phase I study of novel anti-cancer drug uses tumour mRNA expression to identify patients who will respond to the drug.
Targeting Estrogen Receptor Improves Survival in Breast Cancer
Trial finds estrogen receptor degrader significantly increases progression-free survival in patients with advanced breast cancer.
Clinical Trial Finds Medicine Program Alters Blood Serum
Meditation, yoga and vegetarian diet linked to decline in plasma metabolites associated with inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk.
Alzheimer’s Linked Protein Can Be Removed From Brain Without Hindering Memory, Learning
Researchers at UTSW have found that the mice can maintain their learning and memory when virtually all ApoE is removed from the brain but kept present in the liver to filter cholesterol.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos