Scientists create biological pacemaker using gene therapy

Scientists create biological pacemaker using gene therapy

Eduardo Marbán, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and his team have developed a method to keep heart cells outside the sinoatrial node beating, which is less invasive than fitting electronic pacemakers. The team induced a fatal human heart condition in pigs and injected the pigs' hearts with a virus that had been modified to carry a pig gene, Tbx18, involved in heart development. They found within a day, the injected virus had begun to a display a variety of pacemaking genes and pumping the heart at a normal rate. The team is aware that these effects could be short-lived and is conducting further research. The development can prove immensely useful to humans in many ways.

Read more in Nature