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Gold Nanoparticles Used to Improve Cardiac Patches

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 01:55PM

Heart attacks are pretty serious and something very hard to recover from, in part because heart cells do not multiply and there are few cardiac muscle stem cells to repair the damage. Cardiac patches have been created to replace damaged cells, but because of how they are made, these patches can cause their own health problems. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have recently developed a new hybrid patch that could address those problems.

Traditionally the patches are made by growing cardiac tissue on a collagen scaffold from pig hearts. One of the problems with this approach is the potential for antigens that will trigger an immune response, causing the patient's body to attack the patch. To get around this the researchers instead harvest fatty tissue from the patient's stomach, as the body will not attack its own cells. This left an issue with connectivity, as the cells in the patch must respond to the electrical signals of the heart, and engineered patches do not immediately form the necessary connections. The solution the researchers tried was to deposit gold nanoparticles onto the cardiac tissue, providing the needed conductivity.

So far the nonimmunogenic hybrid patch has shown itself to transfer electrical signals faster and more efficiently than scaffolds without the gold nanoparticles, when tested in animals. The next step for the technology is to test it in larger animals, and eventually perform clinical trials.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

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