Straight from the heart: An elastic patch that supports cardiac cell growth

Straight from the heart: An elastic patch that supports cardiac cell growth
Professor Tony Weiss: "No other elastic material behaves in this way."

(Medical Xpress)—Scientists are a step closer to being able to repair damaged human heart tissue thanks to a world leading research collaboration between the University of Sydney and Harvard University.

Professor Tony Weiss from the University's new Charles Perkins Centre and his colleague from Harvard, Professor Ali Khademhosseini, led the joint research project from their respective labs.

Their research findings have been released today in two international leading journals, Advanced Functional Materials and Biomaterials.

Professor Weiss said the scientists used a natural elastic protein called tropoelastin, which is found in all elastic human tissues.

"Then, we bathed it in bright light to make highly elastic patches which were made in less than one minute," he said.

"They are amazingly stretchy - up to four times their length. They have superior mechanical properties and usefully support cell growth inside and on their surfaces."

"The patches are patterned to direct the growth of and allow the cells to beat in synchrony."

The researchers further found the elastic patches then promoted the attachment, spreading, alignment, function, and intercellular communication of isolated from rat by providing an elastic mechanical support that mimics their dynamic properties in vivo. They even beat in synchrony on these elastic substrates and respond to electrical stimulation.

The materials were built, tested and handled by a Research Fellow shared between both the Sydney and Harvard labs, Dr Nasim Annabi. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council recently recognised Dr Annabi with a prestigious CJ Martin award.

"No other behaves in this way. It is so powerful because it uses a natural elastin protein. And we can surgically stitch it to help repair tissue," Professor Weiss said.

The international collaborative team has reported their success using the material to successfully engineer cardiac tissue and have applied for a patent.

Related Stories

Solving the riddle of nature's perfect spring

Mar 01, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have unravelled the shape of the protein that gives human tissues their elastic properties in what could lead to the development of new synthetic elastic polymers.

Nanomaterials key to developing stronger artificial hearts

Jan 31, 2013

On January 30, 2013 ACS Nano published a study by Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, MASc, Brigham and Women's Hospital Division of Biomedical Engineering, detailing the creation of innovative cardiac patches that utilize nanotechnology to enh ...

Human 'shock absorbers' discovered

Feb 14, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- An international team of scientists, led by the University of Sydney, has found the molecular structure in the body which functions as our 'shock absorber'.

Recommended for you

Gene variant raises risk for aortic tear and rupture

Apr 17, 2014

Researchers from Yale School of Medicine and Celera Diagnostics have confirmed the significance of a genetic variant that substantially increases the risk of a frequently fatal thoracic aortic dissection or full rupture. ...

Considerable variation in CT use in ischemic stroke

Apr 17, 2014

(HealthDay)—For patients with ischemic stroke there is considerable variation in the rates of high-intensity computed tomography (CT) use, according to a study published online April 8 in Circulation: Ca ...

Beating the clock for ischemic stroke sufferers

Apr 17, 2014

A ground-breaking computer technology raises hope for people struck by ischemic stroke, which is a very common kind of stroke accounting for over 80 per cent of overall stroke cases. Developed by research experts at The Hong ...

User comments