Gene turns heart cells into 'pacemaker'

2012-12-16 22:22
 (AP)

(AP)

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Paris - A gene inserted into ordinary heart cells transformed them into rare "pacemaker" cells that regulate cardiac rhythm, according to experiments carried out on lab rodents.

The work, reported in the journal Nature Biotechology on Sunday, uses a virus to deliver a human gene called Tbx18, whose normal role is to coax immature cells into becoming pacemaker cells.

"We expect this to work in humans. It would be two to three years from now until the first clinical trial, the first target patients being the ones with pacemaker device infection," Cho said in an email to AFP.

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