Researchers have pioneered a method to patch a damaged heart with an engineered tissue, in a major step forward in combating cardiovascular disease, one of the most serious health problems of our day.
Led by Gordana Vunjak—Novakovic, professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University, researchers developed a novel cell therapy to treat myocardial infarction (damage that follows a heart attack), reports the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They were able, for the first time, to use lab engineered repair cells to maximize their ability to revascularize and improve blood flow to the damaged heart tissue, according to a Columbia statement.
With this platform, they could both keep the cells within the affected tissue and enhance cell survival and function, where most of the cells would have died because of the obstruction of their blood supply.
“We are very excited about this new technique,” said Vunjak—Novakovic. “This platform is very adaptable and we believe it could be readily extended to the delivery of other types of human stem cells we are interested in to rebuild the heart muscle.”