Heart failure carries with it a 50 percent death rate within five years of diagnosis. This means approximately 2.5 million people will die from heart failure within the next five years, but a new study may bring some hope to the equation.

The study, published in Nature and led by Dr. Ching-Pin Chang at the Indiana University School of Medicine, suggests that when a certain molecule is restored in mice experiencing heart failure, the progression stops.

In other words, this molecule is lower in mice with heart failure, so restoring it to normal levels would help.

The molecule is a long non-coding RNA. Normally, RNA carries a code that is later converted into proteins necessary for bodily activities. However, recently scientists have been finding RNA types that act by themselves.

According to the press release, the RNA, named Myheart - myosin heavy-chain-associated RNA transcript - controls the protein BRG-1. BRG-1 plays a key role in fetal heart development. Since adults typically do not need BRG1 to grow and mature, it is not produced as much except when a significant cardiovascular event happens, such as high blood pressure damage or a heart attack. In these cases, BRG1 begins to alter the heart's genetic activity, leading to heart failure.

During this time, Myheart is suppressed, but if researchers restored Myheart levels, BRG1 would be inhibited and heart failure would be prevented.

"I think of Myheart as a molecular crowbar that pries BRG1 off the genomic DNA and prevents it from manipulating genetic activity," Chang said.

Unfortunately for humans, Myheart is considered too large to be delivered as a drug, so Chang and his colleagues are trying to identify the portions of Myheart that are key to the ability to control BRG1 so it can be made into a drug to test on humans.

According to the CDC, 5.1 million people in the US have heart failure. Additionally, heart failure was a contributing cause of death in one in nine deaths in 2009. And the cost of heart failure is $32 billion each year for health care services, medication and missed work days.

Diseases such as coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes all contribute to a person's risk for heart failure. Additionally unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, lack of physical activity and eating food high in fat can contribute to heart failure.  

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.