Ernie Lively, a retired actor, successfully underwent a procedure that could heal his heart – retrograde gene therapy. If he were not able to undergo the newly developed procedure, then he would have suffered the same fate as those diagnosed with continuous heart degradation. In other words, he would have merely waited for the time when he already requires a heart transplant. Due to retrograde gene therapy though, his stem cells began regenerating his heart muscle tissue.
The procedure’s success means that patients with severe cardiovascular concerns have gained new hope in their battle against disease. Since millions die each year due to this, retrograde gene therapy (or more specifically the outpatient procedure done to Lively) needs to be developed further and made available throughout the entire world as soon as possible.
If the procedure becomes widely available, then the World Health Organization’s 2030 estimate on cardiovascular disease death (which is 23.3 million now) might no longer be accurate. An important issue, though, is whether retrograde gene therapy would be accessible to everyone. After all, most of those who succumb to serious heart ailments do not have the means to pay for transplants or assistive devices.
The Right Path
Regardless of how much retrograde gene therapy would cost, it will not be as expensive as an entire human heart or even an artificial one. All in all, scientific experts are definitely on the right path, finding new solutions that prevent further suffering.