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Searching for ways the heart can protect itself

Dr. Roberto Bolli is the chief of the division of cardiology at the University of Louisville. He's leading a large group of colleagues researching different genetic, molecular and biochemical processes in the heart to protect high-risk patients protection from heart attacks.

Dr. Roberto Bolli

"It's a technique called gene therapy where we transfer protective genes into the heart, make the heart more resistant to myocardial infarctions, or heart attacks. We have identified a number of genes that we know can protect tissue of the heart against consequences of heart attack."

Bolli compares it to a vaccine that doesn't completely prevent heart damage but could reduce it significantly. This research focuses on finding ways to make the heart protect itself from heart attack damage. After the onset of a heart attack it may take hours to receive treatment.

Bolli continues

"If you can have a protein protecting the heart all the time, then that will start working right away, not four to six hours later."

The research is supported by the largest highly competitive program project grant from the National Institutes of Health in U of L history.

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