Microparticles — small vesicles circulating in the blood — if injected into the blood stream within 24 hours of the heart attack, may reduce the muscle damage to a great extent.

After a heart attack, much of the damage to the heart muscle is caused by inflammatory cells that rush to the scene of the oxygen-starved tissue.

When biodegradable microparticles were injected after a heart attack, the size of the heart lesion was reduced by 50 per cent and the heart could pump significantly more blood, said a path-breaking research.

“The inflammatory damage is reduced to a great extent when microparticles are injected into the blood stream immediately,” according to researchers from Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University and University of Sydney in Australia.

“This is the first therapy that specifically targets a key driver of the damage that occurs after a heart attack,” said Daniel Getts, a visiting scholar in microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University.

“There is no other therapy on the horizon that can do this. It has the potential to transform the way heart attacks and cardiovascular diseases are treated,” said the study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The microparticles work by binding to the damaging cells — inflammatory monocytes — and diverting them to a fatal detour. Instead of racing to the heart, the cells head to the spleen and die, said the study.

“This discovery opens new pathways to treat several different diseases,” said Getts.

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