Researchers have developed a method to engineer blood vessels within the tissue of previously engineered heart muscle. Trials have resulted in significant improvement in heart function. The study is published in the journal Artificial Organs.
With heart disorders affecting individuals globally and contributing to increasing mortality rates, there has been a need to develop new treatment options. One of the specific challenges in the field of tissue engineering is to produce blood vessels within heart muscle tissue. In this study, the researchers were successful in this task. Their live models showed significant improvement in heart function, particularly in the amount of vascularization throughout the implanted sections. Further, the tissue engineered construct remained viable even after the three-week implantation period, maintaining cardiac specific function.
"The long-term goal of cardiac tissue engineering is to generate functional cardiac muscle in vitro," states lead researcher, Ravi K. Birla. "Work in this area would lead to the formation of functional heart muscle that can someday help patients with acute heart failure."
Tissue-engineered heart muscle can be used to treat cases of myocardial infarction and to repair congenital heart defects, as well as in the use of drug development to provide insight into cardiac developmental biology.
This study is published in Artificial Organs.
The work was conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan as a joint initiative between Ravi K. Birla Ph.D., Gregory H. Borschel MD and Robert G. Dennis Ph.D. Corresponding study author Ravi K. Birla, Ph.D. of the Section of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Michigan currently conducts research focused towards the development of new technologies for cardiovascular tissue engineering with the ultimate goal of tissue replacement in a clinical setting.
About the Journal
Since 1977, Artificial Organs has been publishing original articles featuring the studies of design, performance, and evaluation of the biomaterials and devices for the international medical, scientific, and engineering communities involved in the research and clinical application of artificial organ development. Artificial Organs, published monthly, brings its readership the depth and breadth of the science and technology that continues to advance the replacement, recovery and regeneration of organ systems.
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