- A new research venture could bring about a cure for genetic heart conditions.
- The global team of experts assembled for this project expects to have the gene therapy ready to start testing in clinical trials in the next five years.
- The new gene therapy could lead to cures for an abundance of other genetic diseases.
The world’s first-ever cure for genetic heart conditions seems to be within reach.
A global team of experts from the U.K., U.S., and Singapore is joining forces for the CureHeart Project to develop effective genetic therapies for cardiomyopathies, or diseases of the heart muscle that make it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body. This venture is expected to cure countless afflicted people after the team was recently awarded an approximate $37 million grant from the British Heart Foundation to go towards life-saving research.
Researchers will use precision genetic techniques, called base and prime editing, in the heart for the first time to design and test the first cure for inherited heart muscle diseases, with the aim of turning off faulty genes (so that they are no longer expressing the harmful mutations). While researchers have yet to reach human trials, the treatment is promising, having already seen success in animal trials.
“For decades, we’ve hoped that we could cure heart conditions. Most cardiac conditions are not curable right now, but just manageable,” Richard Wright, M.D., Cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, tells Prevention. “At least for this unusual array of disease states where a specific gene is abnormal and we’ve been able to identify it, there’s the possible opportunity, in theory, that we could go right into the cell and fix the fundamental problem in these people and cure them.”