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Cells Morphed to Muscle May Lead to Therapy for Heart Failure

Tissue from the hearts of mice morphed into muscle cells with the ability to beat and form electrical connections, in an experiment that may lead to new therapy for more than 5 million Americans with heart failure.

Connective-tissue cells called fibroblasts make up about half the cells in the heart. Researchers led by Deepak Srivastava, director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco, said they used a trial-and-error process to identify three genes able to turn fibroblasts into heart muscle.