Heart disease: Covid-19 vaccine mRNA technology offers hope
Thanks to combination of technologies which have been shown to be effective against cancer and in Covid-19 vaccines, the researchers said they can effectively treat a major cause of heart disease. For now, the success is only in mice, but that gives hope to millions of people whose hearts are damaged by scar tissue.
Cardiac fibrosis is the stiffening and scarring of heart tissue and can be fatal. There is currently no treatment for this fibrosis, which later leads to heart disease. In the new study, cardiac fibrosis is reversed, regenerating the cells again, as has already been done to treat cancer. However in this case the treatment takes place inside the body and not in the laboratory.
Covid-19 vaccine mRNA technology can help fight heart disease
The research team used the mRNA technology, which we have seen to be very effective especially in the last period to fight Covid-19. If this technology were to work on people, it could have a huge impact, as all heart disease is associated with fibrosis. Just think about the 50% of heart failure is caused by this scar tissuepreventing the heart from relaxing and pumping fast.
Usually fibrosis it is also associated with lung and kidney disease. By working within the body, the new approach would allow treatment with the same generic approach for everyone. Unlike cancer therapy, where every cancer cell has to be killed, that for fibrosis any significant reduction will improve someone’s life. While this approach is far from curing people, the method shows the potential of this mRNA technology, beyond Covid-19 vaccines.
In the Covid-19 vaccine, mRNA stimulates cells to produce a protein that is normally found on the surface of the coronavirus. That way, when the immune system sees the actual virus, it will recognize the protein and attack the virus before it can cause any major damage. In the new method instead the mRNA it trains cells to produce a protein found on the surface of fibrotic cellsso that the immune cells destroy them.
T cells engineered were provided in a way that allowed them to persist for a long time, risking the immune system to attack other fibrotic cells, including those involved in wound healing. By supplying the protein with the mRNAwhich only stays for a few days, the researchers think they can avoid this problem. People are also experimenting with the use of mRNA to treat autoimmune diseases and to provide gene therapies. Therefore a treatment with great potential to be exploited for new possible treatments.
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