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Scientists engineer unique gel to repair heart tissue

Posted on Feb 21, 02:56PM | IANS

San Diego, Feb 21 : A less-invasive and biocompatible gel that can repair damaged tissue in heart attack patients has been developed by American scientists.

University of California-San Diego bioengineers have demonstrated in a study in pigs that a new injectable hydrogel can repair damage from heart attacks, help the heart grow new tissues and blood vessels, and improve the health of the heart.

The results of the study were published in Science Translational Medicine Wednesday (Feb 20) and cleared the way for clinical trials to begin this year in Europe.

The gel is injected through a catheter without requiring surgery or general anesthesia -- a less invasive procedure for patients, reports Science Daily.

Lead researcher Karen Christman, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of California-San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, said the gel forms a scaffold in damaged areas of the heart, encouraging new cell growth and repair.

"Our data show that this hydrogel can increase cardiac muscle and reduce scar tissue in the region damaged by the heart attack, which prevents heart failure. These results suggest this may be a novel minimally invasive therapy to prevent heart failure after a heart attack in humans," said Christman.