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Heart Cells Gain Pacing Power in Gene Test of Guinea Pigs, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Study


12/17/2012 8:02:25 AM

A single gene, inserted into the apex of the heart, can convert normal cardiac muscle cells into those that control its electrical function, a study found. The findings from laboratory experiments and work with guinea pigs are a step toward creating a “biological pacemaker” for humans with failing hearts, said Hee Cheol Cho, director of cellular electrophysiology at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. Almost 10 percent of muscle cells exposed to the gene started spontaneously firing, behaving the same way as the rare pacemaker cells, the researchers said.

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