Los Angeles : In order to deliver a steady heartbeat using a gene therapy researchers have succeeded by turning ordinary cardiac muscle cells into specialized ones, which may become an alternative to implanted electronic pacemakers.
A recent research study appears in the journal Science Translational Medicine involved pigs having heart block condition that makes their hearts beat slowly. The injected human gene into heart’s pumping chambers, the researchers were able to convert heart muscle cells into a type of cell that emits electrical impulses to drive the beating heart.
This will herald a new era of gene therapy where genes may be used to correct a deficiency disorder and also convert one type of cell into another to treat disease.
This procedure will help people with heart rhythm disorders unable to use a pacemaker because of device-related complications . Even the fetuses where a pacemaker can not be implanted and risk severe heart failure resulting in stillbirth. The researchers hope to develop an injection-based treatment to deliver the gene therapy to these developing babies.In times to come the procedure might also be used in a broader patient population as an alternative to the pacemaker. Even though the infection percentage because of pacemakers is 2% or less, this may eliminate that as well.
Instead of implantation with a metallic device needed regular replacement and can fail or become infected, patients may someday be able to undergo a single gene injection and be cured of the slow heart rhythm forever.