University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed an injectable hydrogel that can deliver microRNAs (miRNAs) directly into heart muscle, triggering proliferation of cardiomyocytes after a heart attack and helping recovery in mouse models. The scientists hope that the technology might represent a new therapeutic approach that exploits miRNAs to promote self-repair of the heart, and potentially other tissues, after injury. “We’re seeing a change in approaches for regenerative medicine, using alternatives to stem cell delivery,” comments co-researcher Jason Burdick, Ph.D., professor in bioengineering in Penn Engineering. “Here, instead of introducing new cells that can have their own delivery challenges, we’re simply turning on repair mechanisms in cells that survive injury in the heart and other tissues.”

The University of Pennsylvania team describes their developments in Nature Biomedical Engineering , in a paper entitled “ Sustained miRNA Delivery from an Injectable Hydrogel Promotes Cardiomyocyte Proliferation and Functional Regeneration after Ischaemic …