New gene therapy for heart damage goes to clinical trial

English: Coronary circulation, with coronary a...
English: Coronary circulation, with coronary arteries labeled in red text and other landmarks in blue text. This vector graphics image was originally created with Adobe Illustrator, and modified with Inkscape. 32px|alt=W3C|link= The source code of this SVG is valid. Category:Valid SVG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Researchers at Saint Louis University have had such promising results from a small (40 patients) earlier study using gene therapy for repairing heart failure damage that they’re now instituting a clinical trial.  The trial will use a genetically targeted regulatory protein replacement therapy to see how well it can repair damage in 200 patients who’ve either had a prior heart attack or have cardiomyopathy or advanced heart failure.

The therapy involves infusing a gene – a type of regulatory protein called SERCA-2a – down the coronary arteries that may help heart cells utilize calcium better, which is similar to an engine getting better gas mileage. This outpatient procedure is performed in a cardiac catheterization lab and aims to increase the level of SERCA-2a, which is reduced in the individual heart muscle cells in patients with heart failure and can thereby change the way those cells function.

Worldwide 52 sites will participate in the trial, 33 in the U.S.  To participate in the trial, please contact the Cardiology Research Office at Saint Louis University at 314-577-8876. Read the original article here.

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