PORTLAND, Maine – A common tropical fish may hold secrets that could help reduce the effects of heart disease, and now researchers are a step closer to discovering them.
The zebrafish shares about 70 percent of DNA with humans – but unlike us, it can regenerate damaged tissue.
Dr. Voot Yin is a researcher at MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor. He says scientists there have isolated a gene that helps to remove scar tissue from the heart, and stimulate new growth.
Yin says it will be some time before this leads to any treatment for humans. “I would hope that within 10 years or so we can get it into clinical trials to see if there is a benefit for humans.”
Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the western world. Yin says in Maine, 20 to 25 percent of deaths are related to heart disease.