Scientists have made a new bio-gel that can be injected into a patient’s veins to repair the damage done by a heart attack. The gel starts to work as soon as it gets into the patient.
This group of researchers at the University of California, San Diego, has been trying to make this biomaterial for more than ten years.
In 2012, scientists made the hydrogel and then tested it on pigs. When the liquid went into the pigs’ bodies, it formed a mesh of fibers. Later, scientists made a gel that could be injected into the body by taking out the bigger pieces from the hydrogel and adding water to slow down the flow.
When this gel gets into the body, it fills in the gaps and speeds up the process of the blood vessels getting fixed.
The idea worked when it was tried out on mice and pigs. In tests, the gel fixed damage to the heart and reduced inflammation. Now, scientists want to test the gel on humans in the next year or two.
Karen Christman, a bioengineer at the university, said that the team of researchers thought the gel could be used right away to save and rebuild some tissue after a heart attack. In the December 29 issue of Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team talked about their research.