Heart-failure patients in the UK have enrolled for a trial of a new genetically modified virus that could help their failing hearts, according to reports. Heart failure is a disabling condition that occurs when the heart becomes too weak to effectively pump blood around the body, making it difficult for sufferers to walk long distances or climb stairs. It occurs, for instance, after being starved of oxygen in a heart attack.
Researchers found that heart-disease patients have lower levels of the SERCA2a protein, BBC reported.
A genetically modified virus makes it possible to stimulate production of the protein, which can infect the heart and reverse the organ's decline.
According to Channel 4, gene therapy involves pumping a genetically modified virus into the heart of the patient via a tube inserted into the leg and pushed up through the blood vessels.
By reversing some of the critical molecular changes arising in the heart when it fails, the new technique could help the more than 750,000 people in the UK who suffer from heart disease, according to Channel 4.
The British Heart Foundation said the idea has "great potential" but needs to be proven in clinical trials, BBC reported.
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