Mayo Clinic writes that heart attack generally occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery. The interrupted blood flow to your heart can damage or destroy a part of the heart muscle. A heart attack, which is also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal. This often occurs because people confuse their symptoms with a minor illness, like indigestion, and delay going to the hospital. Treatment for heart attack has greatly improved over the years. In a news release on Feb. 20, 2013, UC San Diego has reported, New Injectable Hydrogel Encourages Regeneration and Improves Functionality After a Heart Attack.
In a study in pigs, University of California, San Diego bioengineers have demonstrated that a new injectable hydrogel can repair damage from heart attacks, assist the heart to grow new tissue and blood vessels, and get the heart to function closer to how a healthy heart should. This study, which was published Feb. 20, 2013, in Science Translational Medicine, has cleared the way for clinical trials to begin this year in Europe. The gel, which is used for this procedure, is injected through a catheter without requiring surgery or general anesthesia.
Lead researcher Karen Christman has said, “While more people today are initially surviving heart attacks, many will eventually go into heart failure. Our data show that this hydrogel can increase cardiac muscle and reduce scar tissue in the region damaged by the heart attack, which prevents heart failure. These results suggest this may be a novel minimally invasive therapy to prevent heart failure after a heart attack in humans.” The San Diego-based startup firm, Ventrix, Inc., which Christman co-founded, has licensed this technology for development and commercialization. Adam Kinsey, the CEO of Ventrix, has said, “We are excited and encouraged by the results of the study leading to a novel regenerative medicine solution for cardiac repair. The technology offers the potential for a longer and better quality of life for millions of heart attack sufferers."