Saturday, January 19, 2013

Researchers create heart cell model for ARVC

Posted: 24 October 2012By Sara Grosse
Lab personnel looking at a specimen
SINGAPORE: Researchers at the National Heart Centre Singapore have created the world's first human heart cell model for an inherited heart muscle disease, which is commonly associated with sudden cardiac death.

The model was developed using a technology which converts skin samples from an arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) patient into heart muscle cells on a petri dish outside the body.

The research team discovered that key characteristics of ARVC, such as abnormal "fatty changes" reproduced in the heart cells.

The model could help researchers understand the disease better and develop new and improved treatment for patients.

To shed new light on the condition, the research team used skin samples from a patient, and replicated the gene disorder to understand its mutations better.

Associate Professor Philip Wong, the director of the research and development unit at the National Heart Centre said: "We can take the patients' skin samples and then we can produce this human heart model outside the body and use this to understand more about the individual's disease process and also to test potential new treatments on this individual before he manifests the disease."

The heart model can also potentially predict whether a patient is at risk of sudden death, as well as correct the condition through treatment.

ARVC occurs in an estimated one in 2,000 people.

The heart disease typically manifests in individuals in their 20s and 30s, with an estimated 1,000 individuals in Singapore affected by it.

The condition causes part of the muscular wall of the heart to break down over time.

Common symptoms include palpitations and light-headedness.

It is not a common condition but can be fatal, with the risk of sudden death, especially during vigorous exercise.

Besides ARVC, a human heart cell model has already been developed for long QT syndrome, which is an inherited heart rhythm disease.

In future, researchers hope to produce a bank of cells of patients with inherited cardiac conditions in Singapore, so as to understand the disease further.

- CNA/xq


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Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Researchers create heart cell model for ARVC

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