BOSTON (CBS) – Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital may have found a way to repair damaged heart tissue after a heart attack.

When someone has a heart attack, muscle cells in the heart die off and generally don’t get replaced. Instead scar tissue forms and that can eventually lead to heart failure.

But researchers may have found a way to get heart cells to regrow using microRNAs, small molecules that regulate gene function in developing hearts.

When injected into mice after a heart attack, within 10 days these molecules helped minimize cell death and reduced inflammation. With time, the treated hearts were healthier with less scar tissue and better pumping function than the untreated hearts.

The next step is to test the treatment on larger animals before moving on to humans.

Dr. Mallika Marshall