A biodegradable tissue to repair hearts after a heart attacks or to cure congenital malformations. A tissue that acts like a porous, accordion-like medium onto which cardiac stem cells are ‘implanted’ has been created by scientists from the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston (MIT). This “bioscaffolding” integrates perfectly with cardiac tissue and creates a biological “band-aid” that is slowly reabsorbed and repairs cardiac muscle.
Compared to similar previous attempts, explained George Engelmayr in “Nature Materials” magazine, the advantage of the “bioscaffolding” is that it faithfully mirrors cardiac tissue structurally and mechanically, and therefore integrates well with it. Cardiac cells all have a certain orientation that allows them to transmit an electrical impulse that makes the heart beat.
The experts, using a laser similar to the kind used to cure short-sightedness, constructed this tissue “scaffolding” and then “implanted” neonatal cardiac cells from mice into it. They then electrically stimulated the tissue just like in the heart, and the cells oriented in the same direction, just as they do in the human body. “We have followed nature’s lessons as closely as possible and have created tissue very similar to the body’s own tissue, and therefore something truly useful for future therapeutic applications.”