Cardiovascular research is progressing on many fronts, as highlighted in the collection of Reviews in this issue of the JCI. MicroRNAs that regulate cardiac function have been implicated in cardiac disorders, and efforts to develop therapeutic antagomirs are underway. The genetic bases of several cardiac disorders, including cardiomyopathies that cause heart failure and channelopathies that underlie cardiac arrhythmias, have been elucidated. Genetic testing can identify asymptomatic individuals at risk, potentially leading to effective preventative measures. Growing evidence supports the role of chronic inflammation in atherosclerosis, providing new opportunities for therapeutic intervention. For heart failure, recent work suggests that cardiac regeneration using stem/progenitor cells, gene transfer, new drugs that restore normal Ca2+ cycling, and agents that reduce reperfusion injury following myocardial infarction are all viable new approaches to managing disease. Cumulatively, it seems likely that the clinical advances emerging from ongoing research will, in the foreseeable future, reduce the number of deaths in the industrialized world from cardiovascular disease.
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