November 25, 2004

Scientists Find Hope for Hearts

SCIENTISTS have discovered a protein that could save heart attack victims.

In tests on mice, the US researchers found their hearts repaired much better after an attack when they were given the protein molecule thymosin b4.

Professor Deepak Srivastava and his colleagues in Dallas, Texas, found the molecule is active in the growing embryonic heart where it helps cells migrate and survive.

It also helps adult heart muscle cells survive in the lab.

The professor said: 'Because the heart is incapable of sufficient muscle regeneration, survivors of heart attacks typically develop chronic heart failure.

'Thymosin b4 or small molecules that mimic its function could be useful for protecting patients from cardiac injury.'

He said more tests would be carried out.