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

Real-time volume imaging of hearts

14 hours ago

A new ultrasound system from Siemens enables doctors to carry out heart examinations through the esophagus for the first time. The system supplies 3D images of the heart as well as additional real-time information ...

Post-PCI bleeding rates vary widely across hospitals

Nov 27, 2014

(HealthDay)—Patient case-mix and procedural factors may contribute to wide variation in the hospital rates of bleeding after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), according to research published online ...

Most seniors eligible for statin Rx under new guidelines

Nov 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Most older Americans qualify for treatment with statins under new guidelines for the treatment of blood cholesterol released late last year by the American College of Cardiology and the American ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.