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GENE THERAPY FOR HEART DESEASES

UK researchers have developed a revolutionary new gene therapy which may pave way for a single jab to help reverse the damage caused by a devastating heart failure. The gene could restore proper pumping function to failing hearts, halving the risk of death or need for heart transplants, experts behind the ground-breaking treatment claim. "While drugs can offer some relief, there is no way of restoring function to the heart," British Heart Foundation (BHF) medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said. "Gene therapy is one of the new frontiers in heart science and is a great example of the cutting-edge technologies that the BHF is using to fight heart failure," Weissberg said. A trial is to start in the next three to six weeks with the first of 200 patients from around the world being treated at hospitals in London and Glasgow, 'Daily Express' reported. All the patients suffer from severe chronic heart failure, both due to the after effects of heart attacks and inherited conditions. Doctors at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London, and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital, Glasgow, will randomly treat half the patients with a harmless common cold virus carrying a corrective gene directly inserted into heart cells via an artery in the groin or wrist. The rest will receive an inactive placebo. The report said the gene has the potential to reverse some of the molecular damage brought on by a heart attack, alcohol, disease or infection. Once damage is caused, heart failure occurs soon – the organ gets too weak to pump blood efficiently around the body, leading to breathlessness and exhaustion. The treatment is believed to cost just a few hundred to a few thousands pounds per person.

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