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Discussion Starter #1
Well, it worked on pigs, anyway.

Read the article here:
Transplanting gene into injured hearts creates biological pacemakers -- ScienceDaily

"In the study, laboratory pigs with complete heart block were injected with the gene called TBX18 during a minimally invasive catheter procedure. On the second day after the gene was delivered to the animals' hearts, pigs who received the gene had significantly faster heartbeats than pigs who did not receive the gene. The stronger heartbeat persisted for the duration of the 14-day study."

"These laboratory findings could lead to clinical trials for humans who have heart rhythm disorders but who suffer side effects, such as infection of the leads that connect the device to the heart, from implanted mechanical pacemakers."

What do you think, Personality Cafe? Is the Happening real?
 

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To be honest, I can see this only being a viable treatment in cases where the contact points for the pacemaker were continually suffering from infection. Otherwise I think most people with heart problems would stick with a pacemaker. It is interesting that it works in pigs though.
 

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This seems a little weird to me since the heart already has its own "natural pacemaker" so the genes for controlling heart rhythm already exist inside heart cells. Pacemakers are needed when this part of the heart stops functioning correctly, but it seems strange that gene therapy would be a cure because heart cells don't need a new gene since they already have one. What people need is for the damaged part of the heart to be repaired or replaced.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think that the idea is that it converts other cells into pacemaker cells when the natural pacemaker cells die.
 
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