Heart patch from stem cells
Nenad Bursac has been developing a patch for the heart. He starts with stem cells and grows pieces of heart muscle in a dish. His patch is large enough to be tested in large animals.
Indeed, creating heart muscle cells in a lab dish from other stem cells is another option that is being tried in clinical trials. Next researchers inject them into the artery leading to the heart, with ambition that these cells settle in the heart where damaged tissue was found.
Moreover, his team has discovered the best scaffolds for culturing stem cells are made of fibrin. This protein helps form blood clots. Besides, their approach to nurture these scaffolded cells is to move them inside a suspended frame that permits the developing patch to swish in liquid media.
In addition, Bursac has recently incorporated more technique. Endothelial cells develop into blood vessels and fibroblast cells. Thus, he discovered they can help the patch take shape and become more resilient. His patch can be composed of 70% heart muscle cells, with endothelial and fibroblast cells building the remaining 30%.
Ultimately, the primary challenge is that this technique requires open heart surgery for the individual patient.
While further tests continue in animals to check for safety and efficacy, it is possible that the patch can eventually become an option for therapy for those with damaged heart tissue.