Washington: In a new study in pigs, University of California, San Diego bioengineers have shown that a new injectable hydrogel can repair damage from heart attacks, help the heart grow new tissue and blood vessels, and get the heart moving closer to how a healthy heart should.The gel is injected through a catheter without requiring surgery or general anesthesia -a less invasive procedure for patients.Clinical trials will begin this year in Europe.Lead researcher Karen Christman, a professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, said the gel forms a scaffold in damaged areas of the heart, encouraging new cell growth and repair.Because the gel is made from heart tissue taken from pigs, the damaged heart responds positively, creating a harmonious environment for rebuilding, rather than setting off a chain of adverse immune system defenses."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.
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