A protein patch has been shown to regenerate heart tissue in animals (Credit:Shutterstock)
Though sufferers of heart attacks may survive the initial event, they cause permanent damage to the organ in the form of scar tissue, which affects its ability to pump blood. Scientists around the world are working on this problem, with hydrogels, human stem cells and even bioengineered tissue that sticks together like Velcro all offering possible solutions.
But the latest promising advance comes from a team of researchers that has developed a simple protein patch that restores animal hearts almost to normal function.
The team’s work was guided by earlier research indicating that the outside layer of the heart, called the epicardium, may be responsible for producing the compounds that regenerate heart muscle in fish. The effort was led by Professor Pilar Ruiz-Lozano at Stanford University and involved scientists from the University of California, San Diego.