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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Skin clue to heart disease secrets

Thursday August 14th, 2014

A new project will discover the secrets of an inherited heart condition that threatens thousands of people, researchers hope.

Researchers plan to investigate a skin condition linked to the heart condition Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy - ARVC.

The British Heart Foundation said it was part of a plan to tackle the inherited forms of heart disease that lie behind many cases of sudden cardiac death.

Researchers recently discovered the gene behind ARVC also lies behind a form of skin disease, which causes hardened patches on the palms and soles.

The researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, plan to study cells from the skin of these affected people - and will even use them to generate heart muscle cells that can be studied.

It is thought as many as 64,000 people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes the problem.

Some £1.1 million is being spent on the project by the British Heart Foundation.

Researcher Professor David Kelsell said: "By better understanding the genetic and disease mechanisms, we hope to find new ways to target the heart condition in the form of new treatments."

Foundation medical director Professor Peter Weissberg said research projects of this kind were "urgently needed."

He said: "The stem cell technology that allows these scientists to turn skin cells into heart cells was only discovered in 2006.

"In less than ten years it is allowing us to study heart conditions in ways that would have never been possible before. The techniques being used here could provide clues as to the treatments of the future."

Tags: Dermatology | Heart Health | UK News

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