A team of biomedical engineering researchers, led from the University of Minnesota, has created a revolutionary 3D-bioprinted patch that will help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack. The finding is a major step forward in treating patients with tissue damage following a heart attack.

The research is published in Circulation Research , a journal published by the American Heart Association. Scientists have filed a patent on the discovery.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No . one cause of death in the U. S. killing more than 360, 000 people a year. During a heart attack, a person loses blood circulation to the heart muscle and that causes cells to pass away. Our bodies can’t replace those heart muscle cells therefore the body forms scar tissue in that area of the heart, which places the person at risk for compromised heart function and long term heart failure.

In this study, researchers through the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, plus University of Alabama-Birmingham used laser-based 3D-bioprinting techniques to include stem cells derived from adult human heart cells on a matrix that began to grow and beat synchronously in a meal in the lab.

Watch a video of the cellular material beating on the patch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VqIiqZ-tkU&feature=youtu.be

When the cellular patch was placed on a mouse following a simulated myocardial infarction, the researchers saw significant increase in functional capacity right after just four weeks. Since the patch was made from cells plus structural proteins native to the heart, it became portion of the heart and absorbed into the body, requiring no more surgeries.

“This is a significant step forward for the No . 1 cause of death in the U. Ersus., ” said Brenda Ogle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. “We feel that we’re able to scale this up to repair hearts of larger creatures and possibly even humans within the next several years. ”

Ogle said that this research is different from previous research for the reason that the patch is modeled after a digital, three-dimensional check out of the structural proteins of native heart tissue. The particular digital model is made into a physical structure by THREE DIMENSIONAL printing with proteins native to the heart and further adding cardiac cell types derived from stem cells. Only along with 3D printing of this type can we achieve 1 micron resolution needed to mimic structures of native center tissue.

“We were quite surprised simply by how well it worked given the complexity from the heart, ” Ogle said. “We were encouraged to find out that the cells had aligned in the scaffold and demonstrated a continuous wave of electrical signal that moved over the patch. ”

Ogle said they are currently beginning the next step to develop a larger patch that they would check on a pig heart, which is similar in size to a the heart.

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Materials provided by University of Minnesota College of Science and Anatomist . Note: Content may be edited regarding style and length.