Repair a broken heart. That is the objective pursued by a team of bioengineers of the Trinity College in Dublin (Ireland) with a prototype patch that performs the same vital functions as a heart. His ‘invention’ performs mechanical functions and mimics the electrical signaling properties that allow our hearts to pump blood rhythmically into the body. His study is published in «Advanced Functional Materials».
It is estimated that, in the European Union, One in six men and one in seven women in will suffer a heart attack at some time in their lives. And in the world, heart disease kill more women and men, regardless of race, than any other pathology.
Until now, patches coated with heart cells can be surgically applied to restore heart tissue in patients who have had damaged tissue removed after a heart attack and also to repair congenital heart defects in infants and children. However the goal is to make patches without cells that can restore the synchronous beat of the heart cells, without affecting the movement of the heart muscle.
«Ours is one of the few studies that analyzes a traditional material and, through an effective design, allows us to imitate the mechanical movement dependent on the direction of the heart. We used an innovative method called 'electrostatic fusion'», Explains Michael Monaghan, lead author of the article, said:
Designing replacement materials for cardiac tissue is a challenge, as it is an organ that moves and contracts constantly. The mechanical demands of the heart muscle (myocardium) cannot comply with thermoplastic polymers based polyester, which are predominantly approved options for biomedical applications.
However, the functionality of the thermoplastic polymers It could be used for its structural geometry. Starting from this idea, bioengineers began to make a patch that could control the expansion of a material in multiple directions and adjust it using a engineering design approach.
The patches were manufactured using fusion electrofusion, a company technology Spraybase, which is reproducible, accurate and scalable. The patches were also coated with the polymer polyproprol electroconductor to provide electrical conductivity while maintaining cell compatibility.
And the results showed that the patch supported repeated stretching, which is a dominant concern for cardiac biomaterials, and showed good elasticity, to accurately mimic that key property of the heart muscle.
«Our electroconductive patches support electrical conduction between biological tissue in an ex vivo model. Therefore, these results represent a significant step towards generating a patch of bioengineering capable of recapitulating aspects of cardiac tissue, that is, its mechanical movement and electrical signaling, ”concludes Dinorath Olvera, Trinity, first author of the article.
. (tagsToTranslate) patch (t) broken hearts (t)