Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have provided the first real glimpse of a chemical link between an insulin-related hormone and heart muscle death. Dr. Ping Wang, who led the study, says these findings could someday lead to using gene therapies to help treat heart disease.
Wang: So we can try to utilize this effect and coupled with other existing treatment for heart disease or the future treatment of heart disease and try to give the patient as much protection as possible.
Narrator: Although there have been great advances in treating heart attack patients, there's still some heart muscle damage. So, Wang sees great potential for this protective hormone, called insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1.
Wang: One way we might try to do in the future will be try to give these patients' thrombolytic therapy or angioplasty together with IGF-1 infusion. And in this way, not only you can open up the blocked arteries, but at the same time you are going to offer the cardiac muscle as much protection as they deserve.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.