A scientist has shared stunning images of his research into finding a cure for heart failure, a devastating condition affecting nearly one million people in the UK.
Images by Professor Mauro Giacca show the work, done at the London Bridge campus of King’s College, University of London, that tackles heart failure with medicine which teaches the heart to repair itself.
It was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
The £3million the BHF hopes to raise will fund eight projects, including Professor Giacca’s, all aimed at finding ways to cure heart failure.
Heart failure happens when part of the heart is damaged, and it becomes more difficult to effectively pump blood around the body.
This is commonly caused by a heart attack, high blood pressure or an inherited condition.
It is a debilitating condition that makes everyday tasks very difficult.
These glowing hearts show the effects of stimulating mouse hearts to regenerate.
The two hearts on the right have been injected with microRNAs (small molecules that turn genes off), which cause heart muscle cells to multiply.
This stimulation thickens the heart muscle, making it stronger. The heart on the left-hand side looks smaller as it has not been given these microRNAs.
These luminous green blobs with brightly coloured spots may look like an alien life form from outer space but they are heart muscle cells.
They have also been stimulated by the same microRNAs as the mouse hearts.
The red dots show which cells are multiplying to ultimately make the heart muscle stronger.
Professor Giacca and his team hope that injecting microRNAs into the heart will stimulate heart cells to regenerate and repair the damage seen in people with heart failure.
Professor Metin Avkiran, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Heart failure is a debilitating condition that dramatically affects the lives of almost one million people in the UK.
“BHF-funded research has spear-headed treatments to give people with heart failure longer, healthier lives, but there is no cure.
“Regenerative medicine offers that hope.
“The money raised by the 2022 TCS London Marathon will enable these researchers to push the boundaries of medicine by finding ways to teach the heart to repair itself.
“Unlocking these secrets could help heal hearts and transform the outcomes for people living with devastating heart failure.”