Nanopatch for heart, repairs damage from heart attack

When someone has a heart attack, part of the heart dies. Researchers at Brown University have created a nanopatch that can repair areas that have been damaged.

Recurring heart attacks occur more than you think: a third of woman and a fifth of men who have had a heart attack before, will likely have another one within the next six years. When this happens, part of the heart dies - and in general, the damaged part never repairs itself. The scarred cardiac muscle from a previous attack, makes it more likely people will suffer a new heart attack in the future.

Brown University scientists created a synthetic nanopatch to help the heart tissue regrow, creating a Band Aid that could help bring life back into the dead areas.

"This whole idea is to put something where dead tissue is to help regenerate it, so that you eventually have a healthy heart," David Stout, a graduate student at Brown, said in a statement. The scaffold - made of carbon nanofibers and a polymer - helped the tissue repair itself by regrowing two types of cells: heart tissues called cardiomyocytes and neurons.

The scaffold worked in the lab: the heart cells colonized the surface when the nanopatch was in place and more neurons were present. The fact that the nanopatch was flexible helped, but the researchers would still like to match the electrical current of the heart. For a Band Aid for the heart, this isn't a bad start.

via Brown University

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