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Direct conversion of quiescent cardiomyocytes into pacemaker cells

A gene therapy approach for direct conversion of quiescent cardiomyocytes into pacemaker cells could be useful for treating arrhythmias. In cultured rat ventricular myocytes, adenoviral vector expression of T-box 18 (Tbx18) resulted in the formation of monolayers of spontaneously beating cells. In guinea pigs, cardiac injection of the adenovirus vector encoding Tbx18 led to pacemaker activity at the site of injection, whereas injection of the same vector encoding a control protein did not. Next steps include validating the results in a large animal model and evaluating the safety and pharmacokinetics of the vector.

SciBX 6(2); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.47
Published online Jan. 17, 2013

Patent and licensing status undisclosed

Kapoor, N. et al. Nat. Biotechnol.; published online Dec. 16, 2012;
Contact: Eduardo Marbán,
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center,
Los Angeles, Calif.