Gene therapy during angioplasty improves blood flow

In the first study of its kind, researchers show that gene therapy given during angioplasty is safe and improves blood flow to the heart muscle more than angioplasty alone, according to a report in a recent rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. The trial is the first to transfer copies of the gene for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) into the arteries of heart patients during angioplasty. It’s also the first human study that compared two different approaches to inserting the gene into heart cells.

Mutant protein linked to heart failure

A rare case of familial heart failure has shown that a loss of calcium regulation in heart cells may directly cause this hereditary form of the disease. The researchers who studied the case, from the Harvard Medical School lab of Christine Seidman, professor of medicine, and Jonathan Seidman, the Bugher Foundation professor of genetics, developed transgenic mice for their work that now offer a model for further investigation of heart failure and calcium signaling. The study, led by research fellow Joachim Schmitt and published in the Feb. 28 Science, suggests a specific protein target for future heart disease therapies.

Too much oxygen on the cell biology bench? New study suggests so

Research conducted at Ohio State University suggests that cell biologists may be exposing the cell cultures they study to too much oxygen. This finding could have broad implications for cellular biology research, which receives billions of dollars of funding nationally, said Ohio State scientist Chandan Sen. He is the lead author of a study which suggests that cells act differently depending on how much oxygen they are exposed to, especially when it is too much.

Cutting calories slows aging of the heart

Keep eating like that and I'll outlive you for sure.To remain young at heart, eat less. That’s the message drawn from new research out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where a team of scientists studied middle-aged mice that were put on a calorie-restricted diet. What they found were signs of a remarkable uptick in heart health in old age. “It looks like caloric restriction just retarded the whole aging process in the heart,” said one of the researchers. The new study provides evidence that — even starting in middle age — cutting calories can confer significant health benefits for the heart and extend its working life. It does so, according to the team’s results, by exerting influence on the genetic program that governs heart cells.