Saturday, January 21, 2006

Cardiac "patch" for damaged hearts

Stem cells grown within a defined area show promise for use as a cardiac "patch" that provides a living bridge over an infarct in the myocardium according to a report in Tissue Engineering.

The three-dimensional scaffold populated with human fibroblast cells and applied as a patch to mouse heart muscle damaged by a heart attack improved heart function and stimulated the formation of new blood vessels that supply oxygen and essential nutrients to the heart.

"Too often, those who have lost cardiac muscle go on to develop congestive heart failure as a result of lost muscle mass after a heart attack. This work represents an important step in the control of cardiac tissue regeneration that is designed to invigorate local regions of weakened cardiac muscle."

The NIH team expects to enter clinical trials within the next 10 years.

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