Washington: Scientists at Columbia Engineering have established a new method to patch a damaged heart using a tissue-engineering platform that enables heart tissue to repair itself.
Led by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University`s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, the researchers developed a novel cell therapy to treat myocardial infarction (heart damage that follows a heart attack).
For the first time, they were able to combine the use of human repair cells that were conditioned during in-vitro culture to maximize their ability to revascularize and improve blood flow to the infarcted tissue with a fully biological composite scaffold designed to deliver these cells to the damaged heart.
"This platform is very adaptable and we believe it could be readily extended to the delivery of other types of human stem cells we are interested in to rebuild the heart muscle and further our research of the mechanisms underlying heart repair," said Vunjak-Novakovic.
In the study, the team removed the cells of a human heart muscle—the myocardium—leaving a protein scaffold with intact architecture and mechanical properties.
They filled the scaffold with human mesenchymal progenitors (stem cells that can differentiate into many cell types) and then applied the patches to damaged heart tissue.
The patches promoted the growth of new blood vessels and released proteins that stimulated the native tissue to repair itself.
The study was recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.