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Liquid hydrogel  (Source: UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering)
What's unique about the hydrogel is that it can be injected via catheter

A new hydrogel meant to repair tissue damage after a heart attack has been developed and tested by University of California - San Diego scientists.

Karen Christman, study leader and professor in the Department of Bioengineering at UC San Diego, along with a team of researchers, have successfully developed an injectable hydrogel that can treat tissue damage after a heart attack.

"It helps to promote a positive remodeling-type response, not a pro-inflammatory one in the damaged heart," said Christman.

The hydrogel is made of cardiac connective tissue. The connective tissue is eliminated of its heart muscle cells through a cleansing process, and then it is freeze-dried and milled into a powder-like material. The powder is then made into a fluid that can be injected directly into the heart tissue.

When the liquid enters the body, human body temperature turns it into a porous gel that manipulates cells into repopulating areas where damaged cardiac tissue is located. The hydrogel helps repair the tissue and could even prevent further damage.

What's unique about the hydrogel is that it can be injected via catheter as well, which is less invasive and does not require anesthesia or surgery.

The hydrogel has already been tested on rats. In rat models, the gel was not rejected and it did not cause arrhythmic heart beating. Usually cardiac therapies are designed to be tested on animals like pigs, which have hearts sized similarly to humans. However, these therapies usually aren't suited for catheter use. However, the fact that the rats reacted positively to the gel catheter shows that it could be useful for humans one day.

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Source: Eurekalert





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