|14 April 2017|
Scientists in America have developed a 3D printed patch which helps a ‘broken’ heart heal.
The breakthrough – made by biomedical engineers based at the University of Minnesota – could help increase the organ’s functionality in those who have suffered a heart attack.
The bioprinted patch was made using stem cells taken from adult human heart cells. Tested on a mouse it resulted in significant regeneration within four weeks of a heart attack. And thanks to its biological basis it was absorbed naturally by the heart removing any need for additional surgery.
“This is a significant step forward in treating the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S. We feel that we could scale this up to repair hearts of larger animals and possibly even humans within the next several years,” said Brenda Ogle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota.
“We were quite surprised by how well it worked given the complexity of the heart. We were encouraged to see that the cells had aligned in the scaffold and showed a continuous wave of electrical signal that moved across the patch.”
The team are already working on making a bigger patch closer in size to that of a human.