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Heart-Building Protein

August 9, 2017

Researchers are testing a drug that strengthens the heart without exercise.


Cell Research

The far right image shows how a cardiotrophin treatment repaired heart muscle after a heart attack in a rat model. The blue areas are scar tissue and the red sections are healthy heart muscle. (Cell Research)


A heart-building protein. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Exercise makes your heart stronger, but if your heart is already weak from disease, exercise can be impossible. In the journal Cell Research, University of Ottawa cell biologist Lynn Megeny and his colleagues report that a naturally-occurring compound called cardiotrophin 1 administered to rats and mice strengthens their hearts even they don’t break a sweat.

LYNN MEGENEY (University of Ottawa):

This one protein can recapitulate all of the beneficial effects in the heart that you appear to have with exercise.


And in animals with extremely damaged or diseased hearts, cardiotrophin restored heart function to healthy levels. The protein seems to play the same role in humans, and could be used to prevent heart failure. But the therapy will have to show safety and efficacy in clinical trials before it can be approved for human use. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon