Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Every year hundreds of thousands of people die from heart attacks and heart attacks. Surviving a heart attack are facing serious heart failure. During a heart attack a network of blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart coronary artery is clogged due to the accumulation of cholesterol and fat deposits. Blood cannot flow to the heart, causing it loses oxygen and nutrients, leading to death of tissue.
Therefore, survivors of heart attack is left with a weakened heart, and everyday tasks like lifting objects or climbing stairs become tiresome or even dangerous. Restoring damaged heart tissue has proven difficult, if not impossible. However, a team of scientists from Imperial College London have created a new tool which, in their opinion, might heal the wounded heart.
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Scientists have developed a small “patches” of cardiac tissue by a thumb-sized – about two by three inches – with up to 50 million stem cells. They programmed the stem cells to Mature into working heart muscle or cardiac progenitor cells. Patches are sewn over the damaged area of the heart, helping to pump the blood and releasing chemicals to stimulate recovery and regeneration. The results of the research were presented at the conference of the British cardiovascular society in Manchester.
The use of stem cells for the treatment of weakened cardiac muscle is not a new concept. But many of the existing methods of injected stem cells directly into the damaged tissue and staying in place without a “framework”, these cells will cleanse the heart, unless there is a substantial recovery of the fabric.
Scientists tested the patches on rabbits and found that four weeks after patch implantation of left ventricle (chamber that pumps blood into the body through the aorta) is restored without the development of pathological cardiac rhythms. They also found that blood vessels from the hearts of recipients has grown into the plaster and helped to nourish them, which was important for integration. The patches began to beat spontaneously after three days, and a month later started to imitate the Mature heart tissue.
The next step will be to test security patches in clinical trials, and then attempt to use them to restore the hearts of the people.
“One day we hope to add heart patches in the treatment that doctors can offer to people after a heart attack,” says Dr. Richard Jabbour, who conducted the study. “We could prescribe one of these patches along with the medication to someone with heart failure to be able to take the patch right off the shelf and implanted in man.”
If clinical trials of the patch for the heart will show the advantages of treating the consequences of heart attack with it, it will be a big step forward for regenerative medicine. Read here, what else can be done to prolong life.