A gene therapy to restore damaged tissue after a heart attack clears pigs
James Martin had been trying to manipulate a particular gene to regrow heart and bone cells for six years when, while brainstorming for a grant one day in 2009, he stumbled on an old fruit fly study out of Albert Einstein Medical Center in New York.
The study showed that mutations in a pathway called Hippo (so named because it can lead to a hippopotamus-like growth) could cause fly tissues to grow at abnormal rates. Martin, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, wondered whether it may do the same in heart cells.
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