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C. A Tuberculosis Molecule May Help Heart Attack Patients

Narrator: This is Science Today. A chemical found in tuberculosis may greatly reduce the amount of damage the heart sustains after a heart attack. Dr. Marcus Horwitz, a professor of medicine at UCLA, says exochelins, a chemical produced by a bacteria that causes TB, prevents the second phase of a heart attack known as reperfusion injury.

Horwitz: Reperfusion injury occurs because white blood cells migrate from the blood into the heart tissue that has been deprived of blood flow and they release very toxic oxygen molecules and those molecules damage the heart cells and they can lead to congestive heart failure or death if there's enough damage.

Narrator: This damage can not occur without a chemical reaction involving iron and since the TB molecule specifically seeks out iron, reperfusion injury is prevented.

Horwitz: There would be no danger of TB from the molecule. It would just be produced by the TB organism and in fact in practice it would be synthesized, it wouldn't even come from the organism.

Narrator: If further tests prove successful, Horwitz could start human trials within a year. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.