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Ganga's zebrafish an answer for heart ailments?

Feb 16, 2011 10:31 AM IST India India

New Delhi: The Ganga may literally answer millions of prayers for a renewed life thanks to the wonders of the zebrafish. Found most commonly in the Ganga, the zebrafish can repair its own heart cells. The British Heart Foundation is now leading research into possibilities for human benefits from this regeneration process. "The zebrafish does not use stem cells, what it uses are its own adult heart cells, which are able to divide and then re-accumulate together to form a new beating heart. And there is some interest in British Heart Foundation funded researchers that looking at cells that human hearts have that sit outside of the heart, that they might have the ability to become adult heart cells,” said Peter Weissberg, medical director, British Heart Foundation. The BHF has launched a massive campaign now to raise money for further research on the zebrafish. "We anticipate this is going to be a long process, it's going to start in the laboratory understanding molecular cells, and then we'll have to see whether those technologies can be translated into man and whether it can be done safely, so I anticipate it will take five to ten years before something really robust can be rolled out into clinical practice,” said Weissberg.