Designing a new heart patch to replace damaged heart muscle tissue

Integrated collagen patches for cardiac repair:Engineering vascularised cardiac tissue from microporous collagen scaffolds, cell attachment peptides and human embryonic stem cells

Richard Farndale (lead researcher)

Cambridge, University of

Start date: 01 November 2015 (Duration 4 years)

Professor Richard Farndale is working out how to replace heart muscle tissue that has been irreversibly damaged, for instance, after a heart attack. Replacing this lost heart muscle could save many lives.

In this project, Professor Farndale is developing a synthetic heart patch with mechanical properties that match healthy heart tissue. This patch will be a ‘scaffold’ made of a protein called collagen and designed like a sponge, with pores that allow cells to crawl through the material. Professor Farndale will attach synthetic protein fragments to the scaffold so heart cells bind strongly to the heart patch and survive when they are implanted into a damaged heart.

The heart cells and blood vessel cells are made from human stem cells, so the patch they create will be a new piece of heart tissue with a built-in functioning blood supply. When they have perfected the patch, the researchers will work out if it restores the pumping ability of the heart in rats.

This research is a first step towards designing heart patches that surgeons can use to replace and strengthen damaged heart tissue and restore the pumping ability of the heart to prevent heart failure.

Project details

Grant amount £798,506
Grant type Special Project
Start Date 01 November 2015
Duration 4 years
Reference SP/15/7/31561
Status In progress

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