By Lynne Adkins

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Temple University researchers have discovered a key to heart failure which is currently an incurable disease.

When a heart is damaged during a heart attack, certain enzymes become elevated causing the heart to get bigger and work harder, leading to heart failure, according Dr. Walter Koch, professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Temple University School of Medicine.

“It has as worse a prognosis as any cancer as far as survival over a one, two, five year period. There’s no cure. The only cure is a transplant and there’s not enough hearts available to transplant all the people that need it,” says Koch.

His research shows that the heart enlargement occurs when the enzyme travels to the cell DNA and now, if physicians can find a way to keep the enzyme away from the DNA, heart enlargement and failure can be prevented and lives can be saved.

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