Duke University Medical Center scientists have discovered a way to turn the scar tissue
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that forms after cardiac arrest into healthy muscle tissue, which would make a stem cell transplant unnecessary. To achieve this, Duke University Medical Center scientists introduced microRNA to scar tissue cells in a living mouse. These hardened cells, called fibroblasts, develop as a result of a heart attack (Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI)), and impede the organ’s ability to pump blood. The microRNAs, which are molecules that govern the activity of several genes, were able to manipulate the fibroblasts to transform into cells that looked like cardiomyocytes, which comprise heart muscle. The results from the study were published in a medical journal called Circulation Research and with such limited information and the potential for expansion, the experiments at this initial phase will find itself paving a way for the millions of US citizens that suffer from heart disease which is the leading cause of death in the country. According to the report, with the microRNA and its adaptive abilities, it can theoretically even be used to regenerate tissue in the brain, kidneys and other organs. With these experiments gifting positive outcomes when tested on mice, the team of researchers has plans to implement the cell reversal technology on larger animals and if that proves to be successful as well, it will find its way to human test subjects and hopefully a practical application over time.