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Gene therapy steadies erratic heartbeat in pigs; potential treatment for human arrhythmias.

A gene therapy technique shown to steady irregular heartbeats in pigs may one day be useful in treating cardiac arrhythmias in humans.

Five pigs were treated with a modified adenovirus containing the gene that codes for the inhibitory G protein, a protein that is active in the heart's atrioventricular node and helps control heartbeat. After 1 week, measurements of electrical impulse rates confirmed that the gene was taken up into the pigs' heart cells, with 20% of the treated pigs exhibiting a drop in heart rate compared to a control group given the virus with a gene unrelated to heart function.

According to the researchers, gene therapy for cardiac arrhythmias has the potential for being more specific than current drug therapy--meaning fewer side effects-and also would avoid the risk of infection associated with implanted pacemakers or defibrillators. (Nature Medicine 2000;6:1395-1398.)
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Comment:Gene therapy steadies erratic heartbeat in pigs; potential treatment for human arrhythmias.
Publication:Transplant News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 15, 2000
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