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C. Scientific Serendipity

Narrator: This is Science Today. By sheer coincidence, a molecule from tuberculosis was found to have properties useful for treating heart attacks. Dr. Marcus Horwitz, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at UCLA, says this realization took place at a family gathering.

Horwitz: We had discovered a molecule which had certain unique properties and my brother being a cardiologist needed a molecule with that property for heart attack and it was pretty much serendipity that we happened to get together and discuss it because it wouldn't be immediately obvious that this molecule would have the utility in heart attack.

Narrator: This tuberculosis molecule prevents reperfusion injury, which damages the heart and often leads to congestive heart failure. It works by seeking out iron - an essential part of a toxic chemical reaction which causes reperfusion injury.

Horwitz: Today one of the leading diagnoses of people entering the hospital is congestive heart failure and the major cause of congestive heart failure is heart attack. 048 The idea of this drug would be to prevent that from happening.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.