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India: IIT-Guwahati researchers develop proteins to fix cardiac damages

Guwahati, India: In a latest development, a research team from IIT-Guwahati has developed a mechanism for the conversion of skin cells into heart cells, for the regeneration of damaged heart tissues. The research team was led by the assistant professor, department of biosciences and bioengineering Dr Rajkumar P. Thummer, alongside research scholar Krishna Kumar Haridhasapavalan.

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Guwahati, India: In a latest development, a research team from Indian Institute of Technology(IIT-Guwahati) has developed a mechanism for the conversion of skin cells into heart cells, for the regeneration of damaged heart tissues. The research team was led by the assistant professor, department of biosciences and bioengineering Dr Rajkumar P. Thummer, alongside research scholar Krishna Kumar Haridhasapavalan.

The team has developed a ‘recombinant protein toolbox’ , consisting of six special proteins, which can convert healthy skin cells from an adult human body into heart cells; cardiomyocytes, to be precise.

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It must be noted that the heart cells the toolbox would generate can function similarly to original heart cells, thus, can be used to regenerate damaged heart tissues. Interestingly, the toolbox can be used to create autologous heart cells in a laboratory.

From the research, it was found that the ultimate treatment for heart disease is a ‘new heart’ as the human heart is unable to generate new heart cells. Usually, the human heart get scar tissue following heart attacks or any heart disease. With this development, the medical industry will be lightened of the transplantation hassles and its complications.

Scientists around the world have been trying to find a safer way to convert regular body cells into heart cells, as the cells can alter their behaviour in a manner that can prove harmful to human body.

The research team from IIT-Guwahati has successfully produced cell-permeant recombinant proteins that can convert skin cells into heart cells. The researchers inculcated the heart cell characteristics into skin cells, by exposing them to these proteins; through a process deemed as rewriting the genetic programme of skin cells.

The IIT-Guwahati team also collaborated with Dr Vishwas Kaveeshwar from the Central Research Laboratory at SDM College of Medical Sciences and Hospital in Karnataka for the validation of the biological activity of recombinant fusion proteins.

The head of the research team, Dr Rajkumar P. Thummer, called Recombinant protein-based cellular reprogramming development a promising alternative and safest approach among other non-integration approaches as these proteins do not tend to alter the genome of the cells.

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As research scholar Krishna Kumar Haridhasapavalan stated, these recombinant proteins can be delivered to target areas without the need for any harmful reagents, which in future might be useful for research in cancer and tumours.

 

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