*For representational use only. Source: LillaSam /

Researchers at King’s College London plan to use mRNA to regenerate damaged heart tissues, which could lead to a world-first cure for heart attacks. The research, which may enter human trials within two years, could lead to a cure for the world’s leading cause of death within this decade.

The emergence of mRNA — mRNA has been the focus of increased scientific research since Moderna and Pfizer developed COVID vaccines with mRNA in record time. Now, researchers want to spend $20-$30 billion to create a library of mRNA vaccines against each viral family that threatens a future pandemic. But the ability to teach cells to produce the proteins they need to heal themselves is seen as revolutionary to every strand of medicine over the next 10 years. King’s College researchers, for instance, delivered mRNA to the heart in order to produce proteins that can generate healthy heart cells. This is meant to prevent a progression from a heart attack to total heart failure. The researchers say their technique can also prevent heart cells from death due to a cardiac event.

Heart of the matter — In 2019, more than 18.5 million deaths around the world were attributed to cardiovascular conditions and heart attacks occur every 40 seconds in America. Scientists have a number of innovative treatments for heart disease in development, like the use of stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue or the use of immune cells to prevent inflammation. If King’s College researchers can show in human clinical trials that mRNA can help the heart repair itself and even prevent cells in the heart from dying, it will mean that heart attacks could be considered a minor health event instead of a precursor to heart failure. Within the decade, the US could see a sharp reduction in the hundreds of billions of dollars the country spends on costs related to heart failure.

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