Biological pacemakers could put an end to electrically powered alternatives

 
 

artificial pacemaker installed

According to research the most common types of heart surgery includes replacing a biological pacemaker with an electrical counterpart. While a patient might continue to live a normal life even with an electrical pacemaker, he/she has to go through regular operations to replace the onboard battery that powers the device or replace the entire device if something goes wrong with it. A team of scientists from the US have now found out a way to put an end to electrical pacemakers, but creating biological pacemakers using ordinary heart cells.


The team has found out a way to re-program heart cells so that they can replicate the highly specialized pacemaker cells. The process starts by injecting a single gene, called Tbx18 into normal heart cells, which gives it the distinctive features of natural pacemaker cells. While studies have so far been done only in test tubes and in guinea pigs, the results are definitely promising and could soon change the life of millions living on artificial pacemakers.

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