London: Israeli researchers have developed novel cardiac patches made from gold particles that could be transplanted into the body to replace damaged heart tissue.
They discovered that gold particles are able to increase the conductivity of bio-materials to better restore heart function.
"Our goal was two-fold: To engineer tissue that would not trigger an immune response in the patient and to fabricate a functional patch not beset by signalling or conductivity problems," said Tal Dvir from the Tel Aviv University's department of biotechnology.
Dvir's team presented their model for a superior hybrid cardiac patch, which incorporates bio-material harvested from patients and gold nano-particles.
According to Dvir, recent efforts in the scientific world focus on the use of scaffolds from pig hearts with the goal of implanting them in human patients.
However, due to the presence of remnants of antigens such as sugar or other molecules, the human patients' immune cells are likely to attack the animal matrix.
In order to address this immunogenic response, Dvir's group suggested a new approach.
"Fatty tissue from a patient's own stomach could be easily and quickly harvested, its cells efficiently removed, and the remaining matrix preserved. This scaffold does not provoke an immune response," he noticed.
To address the second dilemma of establishing functional network signals, researchers explored the integration of gold nano-particles into cardiac tissue to optimise electrical signalling between cells.
They deposited gold nano-particles on the surface of patient-harvested matrix, decorating the bio-material with conductors.
"The result was that the non-immunogenic hybrid patch contracted nicely due to the nano-particles, transferring electrical signals much faster and more efficiently than non-modified scaffolds," Dvir pointed out.
The study appeared in the journal Nano Letters.