Building a 'heart patch'
We've awarded two new grants from our Mending
Broken Hearts Appeal fund, at a combined cost of more than
Thanks to your donations, each funded project holds promise of
helping find a way to repair hearts damaged by a
The two sets of scientists – one at the University of Cambridge,
and the other at University College London – are both trying to
develop a ‘heart patch’ to fix to
a damaged heart.
A ‘patch’ with the right layout of heart muscle cells, held
together by proteins and supporting cells, could form part of a
future treatment for some people with heart
failure. But making a patch is not easy,
because heart muscle has a much more complex structure than many
other types of tissue. Different types of cells and supporting
structures have to be positioned and connected in precisely the
right way to form healthy working tissue.
Spraying cells and building scaffolds
Dr Anastasis Stephanou and his colleagues at University College
London are using a high-tech gadget to ‘spray’ cells together using
microscopic hoses. This pioneering new technique could be an ideal
way to build high quality heart
tissue in the future.
Cambridge’s Professor Richard Farndale
is turning his attention to the tricky question of building a
‘scaffold’ for new heart tissue. First, he aims to build a
structure that’s the right shape – at the microscopic level – to
ensure stem cells align correctly. Then by coating the scaffold
skeleton with other tiny molecules, he aims to snare the cells in
place and encourage them to transform into beating heart
Together, both projects will take us a step further towards
finding a way to mend broken hearts.
Find out more about our Mending Broken Hearts Appeal