(Left) Scafolding produced for heart repair, under magnification (Right) application needle, the bright-white spots below the tip is electric conduction of 10-30,000V (via British Heart Foundation & BBC)
Heart attacks and heart disease are atop the leading causes of death in the “developed” world — and those that developed a lot of unhealthy habits. Advances in medical science have given many second chances at life, but survivors must live with crippling effects of damaged and scared heart tissue while waiting in long lists for heart donors.
The British Heart Foundation is testing a remarkable solution, a spray for the heart to repair damaged sections. The solution contains different kinds of heart cells found in healthy tissues. To apply this 3D layer of heart cells, Dr. Suwan Jayasinghe, a mechanical engineer, uses a conductive needle that applies 10,000 V (some reports say up to 30,000 V) to atomize the solution and create a spray.
Even thought there are currently many heart attack survivors, the scar tissue left does not help the heart beat so the performance of this organ can be severely affected. This bioelectrical, spray-on solution would alleviate that. Researchers hope to eventually use the patient’s own heart cells or grow stem cells to derive the needed solution.
Tests are now being conducted on animal-hearts to see if the spray creates a layer of tissue that actually beats along with the rest of the heart. Observations are also being made on how this spray affects arteries within the heart. Human testing will be performed after this stage, but there is no word yet on when this is expected to happen.
See more at the BBC