Gene therapy works by attracting the body’s stem cells to the areas of the heart that is damaged. The patient’s heart muscles are infused with three different doses of a drug carrying a gene for a protein that is believed to attract stem cells to damaged tissue. The activity of this protein naturally goes up after a heart attack, but only for a short period. The purpose of the therapy is to enhance the protein’s effectiveness. Studies and research have already been established for the use of stem cell treatment in heart failure patients. The patient’s own stem cells are harvested then reintroduced into the heart. However, the gene therapy approach is noninvasive and avoids the cost of stem cell harvesting. Results from the first trial are generally good. Patients report improved symptoms and increased walking ability. However, researchers are not certain if these results are directly related to the gene therapy.
Watch this short video about gene therapy from WebMD.