Gladstone Researchers Hone In On Differentiation Of Heart Stem Cells

A team of scientists from the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) has identified a key factor in heart development that could help advance gene therapy for treating cardiac disorders. Published in the current online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study evaluates the role of short RNAs, also known as miRNAs, in the early stages of the developing heart. The study also will be reported in the December 27 issue of PNAS. The findings could help cardiac stem cell researchers one day develop strategies for gene and cell- mediated cardiac therapies, according to Deepak Srivastava, MD, senior author and GICD director. RNAs are nucleic acids found in all living cells that help transfer information from DNA to the protein-forming system of the cell. They also express--that is, instruct to turn on or off--genes within that transferred information. MiRNAs are short RNAs that repress gene expression to control a variety of developmental processes.

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