Microscopic gold particles could help mend broken hearts

9 October 2014        

Researcher

Gold nanoparticles could be used to create cardiac patches to help mend broken hearts, according to researchers.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University are using microscopic gold particles to help create patches of beating heart tissue to repair hearts damaged by a heart attack

Heart attacks can cause permanent scarring when areas of heart tissue die after becoming starved of oxygen. If the damage is significant enough it can lead to heart failure.

The patches are crafted using a complex supporting structure from material from the abdomen, heart tissue cells and proteins, but can be rejected by the body if they are not created in precisely the right way.

Findings from the university showed using gold particles improved the electrical conductivity between the cells of the new heart tissue.

This research takes us one step closer to finding a way to mending a broken heart

Professor Peter Weissberg
Medical Director

Professor Peter Weissberg, our Medical Director, said: “More and more people survive a heart attack but unfortunately their problems don’t end there. Heart attacks can leave permanent scarring which can have a life-long impact on your health.

“This research takes us one step closer to finding a way to mending a broken heart by replacing heart muscle that has died after a heart attack with a patch of new healthy heart tissue. 

“By creating a scaffold for the heart cells that isn’t rejected by the body, and using gold nanoparticles to improve the conductivity of the cells the team has overcome some of the key obstacles in this area of research. 

“Further research is needed to see if this can become a suitable treatment for repairing damaged hearts.”