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Congenital heart disease 'treated using cancer genetic pathways'

Congenital heart disease 'treated using cancer genetic pathways'
22nd February 2011

Scientists have successfully treated a form of congenital heart disease in mice by taking advantage of their knowledge of cancer-related genetic pathways.

Mutations caused by many forms of cancer are also a well-known cause of particular heart defects, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

Scientists at the University Health Network and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre successfully used drugs to treat HCM, based on these mutated genetic pathways.

Commenting on the findings, which are published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, lead research Dr Benjamin Neel explained: "This is what personalised medicine is all about: understanding in detail how different mutations cause disease, and then targeting these mutations appropriately to tailor individualised treatment.

"In this instance, collaboration showed how understanding cancer can lead to unexpected insights into congenital heart disease, and vice versa."

Research published in the British Medical Journal in November indicated that binge drinking could increase the risk of heart disease, compared to regular drinkers.

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