The enzyme telomerase repairs cell damage produced by aging, and has been used successfully in therapies to lengthen the life of mice. Now it has been observed that it could also be used to cure illnesses related to aging. Researchers have for the first time treated myocardial infarction with telomerase by designing a very innovative strategy:
A gene therapy that reactivates the telomerase gene only in the heart of adult mice, thus increasing survival rates in those animals by 17 % following a heart attack. "We have discovered that following a myocardial infarction, hearts that express telomerase show less heart dilatation, better ventricular function and smaller scars from the heart attack; these cardiac events are associated with an increased survival of 17 % compared to control animals," they say.