Gene therapy can lead to heart cells regenerating after a heart attack, King’s College London researchers have found. The study, published in Nature, stated that a small piece of genetic material called microRNA-199 delivered into a pig’s heart after myocardial infarction resulted in almost total cardiac recovery a month later.

This is the first time cardiac regeneration has been accomplished through genetic drug administration in an animal with similar heart anatomy to human beings.

The scientists said it would still take time to move this therapy to clinical trials: “We still need to learn how to administer the RNA as a synthetic molecule in large animals and then in patients, but we already know this works well in mice.”