mRNA Breakthrough Offers a Potential Heart Attack Cure

King’s College London researchers are turning to the same technology behind the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to develop the first damage-reversing heart attack cure. They used mRNA to deliver the genetic instructions for specific proteins to damaged pig hearts, sparking the growth of new cardiac muscle cells. “The new cells would replace the dead ones and instead of forming a scar, the patient has new muscle tissue,” lead researcher Mauro Giacca said. Researchers are turning to the same technology behind Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines to develop the first damage-reversing heart attack cure.

Diseases of the heart are the leading cause of death around the world; the WHO estimates that 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2019, representing almost a third of all deaths. Of those, 85% are ultimately killed by heart attacks and strokes. Heart attacks occur when blood flow to parts of the heart is blocked, often due to fat or cholesterol build up. The cardiac muscle cells — marvelous little powerhouses that keep you beating throughout your entire life — are starved of oxygen and can be damaged or killed. Left in its wake is not the smoothly pumping cardiac muscle, but instead scar tissue.

We are all born with a set number of muscle cells in our heart and they are exactly the same ones we will die with. The heart has no capacity to repair itself after a heart attack,” explained Giacca.

At least, until now. To develop their heart attack cure, the researchers turned to mRNA, which delivers the instructions for protein creation to cells. Whereas the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines instruct cells to make the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, priming the immune system against the virus, the same technology can deliver a potential heart attack cure by carrying the code for proteins that stimulate the growth of new heart cellsPharmaTimes reported. In an experiment with pigs (a close match for the human heart), the mRNA treatment stimulated new heart cells to grow after a heart attackregenerating the damaged tissues and creating new, functional muscle rather than a scar.

According to BioSpace, harnessing mRNA in this way has been dubbed “genetic tracking,” named for the way the mRNA’s progress is tracked via the new proteins it is creating. The technique is being explored to create vaccines for pathogens like HIV, Ebola, and malaria, as well as cancers and autoimmune and genetic diseases. While thus far their heart attack cure has only been successfully tested in porcine pumpers, the team hopes to begin human clinical trials within the next couple years. “Regenerating a damaged human heart has been a dream until a few years ago,” Giacca said, “but can now become a reality.”

Source: https://www.freethink.com/

Human Trials for Pill to Cure COVID

Dozens of volunteers have begun participation in initial trials for a pill that pharmaceutical company Pfizer hopes will be a cure for COVID-19 available later this year, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The trial is being held at two Pfizer locations, one in the US and the other in Belgium, and will involve up to 60 volunteers age 18-60. The trial will be split into three phases spread over 145 days, with an extra 28 days tacked on the end for “screening and dosing,” according to the report, and will include several overnight stays for the participants.

If they have moved to this stage, they will be quietly optimistic,” Prof. Penny Ward, a visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, told the Telegraph.

The question will be about how the drug is tolerated,” said Ward, who helped develop Tamil, an antiviral treatment against flu.

The first phase will look at how well the new drug is tolerated and if there are “significant side effects, and how people feel after taking it,” according to Pfizer documents cited by the British news outlet. The next phase will include multiple doses while the third will look into the influence of eating food at the same time.

For that part, participants could receive instructions such as to consume a high-fat breakfast of “two eggs fried in butter, two strips of pork bacon, two slices of toast with butter, 4 oz. of hash brown potatoes, and 8 oz. of whole milk,” all of which must be consumed in 20 minutes.

Volunteers have been warned that the drug has so far only been tested on animals, according to the Pfizer documents.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ 
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  https://www.timesofisrael.com/