A group of researchers is developing a patch of stem cells made with blood vessels made with biomaterial.
The main objective of the experiment is to transform this sticker into a heart. If this is done successfully, some heart problems can be treated or improved with the patch.
The researchers assume that the patch, because it is completely biological (with stem cells), could help a “real” heart to recover from a heart attack , for example.
In addition to heart problems, it is being designed to help the healing process, burns, chronic wounds and skeletal muscle problems.
The next step in this study is to implement the technology in animals, analyze the results and see if there are the same effects in humans, in order to improve the way of transplanting hearts.
How does a heart work?
The vascular system is responsible for bringing nutrients and oxygen to other parts of the body (organs and tissues). Microvessels (very small and thin veins) are important and, to be used well, they need to be dense and well aligned.
Therefore, the main challenge for scientists is precisely to develop these microvessels in a size adequate enough to transport blood.
The problem is that in order to be strong enough and withstand blood pressure, this structure needs a material that, until now, cannot be produced.
When the structure is strong enough, it is also much larger than the microvessels of a natural heart.
Therefore, researchers are still looking for options.
The study was done at the University of Michigan in the United States and published in the journal Theranostics.
Once again, technological medicine is using other areas of knowledge (in this case, engineering) to improve people’s health and even save lives. The patch, when released, can be used as a form of treatment for many diseases.