Volume 90 Issue 33 | p. 32 | Concentrates
Issue Date: August 13, 2012

Nanofix For A Broken Heart

Therapy based on a protein-loaded nanofiber scaffold helps repair pig cardiac tissue after the animal has a heart attack
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Biological SCENE, Nano SCENE, Materials SCENE
Keywords: heart attack, peptide nanofibers, tissue regeneration, mycardial infarction, growth factor, VEGF
[+]Enlarge
A pig’s cardiac tissue, damaged by a heart attack (left), can regrow blood vessels (right, labeled green) with the help of nanofiber-supported protein therapy.
Credit: Sci. Transl. Med.
Micrograph images showing how pig cardiac tissue damaged by a heart attack (left) can regow blood vessels (right, labeled green) with the help of nanofiber-supported protein therapy.
 
A pig’s cardiac tissue, damaged by a heart attack (left), can regrow blood vessels (right, labeled green) with the help of nanofiber-supported protein therapy.
Credit: Sci. Transl. Med.

Patients recovering from a heart attack might one day get a helping hand from peptide-based nanofiber scaffolds (Sci. Transl. Med., DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3003841). A heart attack leaves cardiac muscle and blood vessels damaged, leading to scar tissue formation and sometimes causing heart dysfunction or failure. To help repair injured tissue after such an event, a research team led by Patrick C. H. Hsieh of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica tested a new therapy: The researchers injected a peptide nanofiber gel containing the protein VEGF, or vascular endothelial growth factor, directly into the hearts of pigs just after a heart attack. After 28 days, the pig hearts functioned better and had increased blood vessel density compared with those of pigs given only VEGF or the nanofiber gel. The researchers think that because the nanofiber scaffold degrades slowly and releases VEGF over time it improves recruitment of healthy cells for repair. In a commentary, bioengineer Karen L. Christman of the University of California, San Diego, writes that the next steps for this therapy should be to monitor its effects over a longer period and to test whether it can be injected via a catheter. “With the addition of a few follow-up studies,” she says, “this technology has potential for near-future translation into people.”

 
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment