Discoveries Magazine


Bananas About a Protein

Photo: Clint Blowers

A tiny molecule discovered by Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute investigators — and fittingly named the “banana protein” — might hold the key to predicting heart failure. Shaped like the tropical fruit, the protein, BIN1, can be detected in the bloodstream.

The investigators found in previous research that, during advanced stages of heart failure, levels of this protein decrease by half. Low levels are also a good predictor of future heart disease.

“This little molecule plays a significant role in disease and in the strength of contraction during a heartbeat,” says Robin Shaw, MD, PhD, an expert in heart failure and rhythm abnormalities, and the Wasserman Foundation Chair in Cardiology in honor of S. Rexford Kennamer, MD.

Shaw, research scientist Ting-Ting Hong, MD, PhD, and their colleagues studied heart failure in 180 Cedars-Sinai patients. “A blood test for BIN1 does a beautiful job of detecting the disease,” Shaw says.

The team aims to get the blood test approved by the Food and Drug Administration so physicians can use it to help determine heart health and even forecast patient outcomes. The investigators also are studying methods to restore or replace BIN1 in patients with deficiencies as a potential treatment for heart failure.

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