Heart attacks occur when the blood stops flowing properly and the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen. As a result, heart is injured. After a heart attack, part of the heart’s tissue is destroyed and the body replaces it with a scar tissue that is unable to contract and expand. A recent development by a team from Tel Aviv University might be the key to creating artificial tissues capable of expanding and contracting. As a result, the heart is permanently weakened and the person who suffered the attack must carefully monitor his or her health. Throughout the years scientists have tried to create artificial tissues in order to “mend” hearts. With its aid, the scarred heart tissue could be replaced.
The team of scientists from Tel Aviv University came up with the idea to use springy fibers for the lab grown tissue. Upon studying the hearts of rats, they discovered that the fibers were shaped as spirals. As a result they set upon creating an artificial fiber with that exact shape. The result strongly resembles very small, telephone handset cords. They created fibers using electrospinning techniques.
Scientists discovered that artificial tissues created with the springy fibers outperformed the ones created with straight fibers. The tissue functions similarly to natural heart tissue. It can contract with greater force and less mechanical resistance than the tissue created with straight fibers.
The research is far from over. The artificial fibers must be refined. Once this is done, scientists can proceed to the next step. Dr. Tal Dvir, the leader of the project, wishes to start clinical trials as soon as possible. If the experiment proves to be successful this new type of artificial tissues might be the key to prolonging the life of those who have suffered a heart attack.
Did you know that almost 50% of the victims who suffered a heart attack die within a five year period?