James Martin (via Texas Heart Institute)

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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