A pumping patch which contains millions of living stem cells could help repair damage caused by a heart attack, according to researchers.
Scientists at Imperial College London have worked with the British Heart Foundation to develop the patch.
The 3cm by 2cm patch is grown in a lab from a sample of the patient’s own cells and then once sewn on to the heart, turns itself into healthy working muscle. According to experts, one or more patches could be implanted on to a patient’s heart.
The British Cardiovascular Society meeting has heard that patient trials should start in the next two years.
Experts from Imperial College London told a leading heart conference in Manchester that successful test in rabbits show that this procedure is safe.
Patches reportedly start to beat after just three days and start to mimic mature heart tissue within one month.
During a heart attack, the heart is starved of vital nutrients and oxygen, killing off parts of the heart muscle. This weakens the heart and can eventually lead to heart failure. This affects about 920,000 people in the UK.
Researcher Dr Richard Jabbour said:
One day, we hope to add heart patches to the treatments that doctors can routinely offer people after a heart attack.
We could prescribe one of these patches alongside medicines for someone with heart failure, which you could take from a shelf and implant straight in to a person.”
Professor Metin Avkiran, from the British Heart Foundation, which funded the research, said:
Heart failure is a debilitating and life-changing condition with no cure, making everyday tasks incredibly difficult.
If we can patch the heart up and help it heal, we could transform the outlook for these people.”
BBC News. (2019). ‘Pumping heart patch’ ready for human use. Accessible: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-48495313. Last Accessed: 4 June 2019.
Press Association. (2019). Stem cell patches could help mend hearts after heart attack. Accessible: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jun/04/stem-cell-patches-could-help-mend-hearts-after-heart-attack. Last Accessed: 4 June 2019.