It has often been assumed that after a heart attack, where by definition a piece of the heart dies for lack of blood and oxygen, the damage is irreparably permanent. However, Israel has done it again, this time by proving that, indeed, it is not.
Over a month ago, OneJerusalem reported an Israeli breakthrough as a possible cure for radiation sickness, as well as a kickstarter pill for a damaged pancreas in diabetics. Now, they’ve done it again by making a dramatic breakthrough in treating heart disease, growing heart muscle in rats’ abdomens and using it to patch the hearts of rats that suffered heart attacks.
The results of the experiment were published this week in an American journal. Many researchers have attempted this approach to fixing damaged hearts in the past but haven’t succeeded in keeping the grafted tissue alive to join with the adjoining heart tissue. The difference in approach by the Israeli team is that instead of transplanting the cells directly to the heart, they implanted them in the abdomen first in order to get a system of blood vessels going. This means the tissue has less of a chance of dying of oxygen deprivation and can attach itself to the vessels of the heart.
The process took 28 days until the two linked up, and more than that, the patch actually improved the damaged heart. The problem with heart attacks is that they usually leave a scar on the heart, which tightens up over time and often leads to another heart attack. The patch prevented the scar from forming.
When do human trials start on abdomen-grown cardiac tissues? HA, we have no idea. But hopefully soon.