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Ready-Made Cardiac Patch Repairs Heart Attack Damage

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 23 Apr 2020
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Image: A synthetic cardiac patch boosts recovery of damaged hearts (photo courtesy of NC State University)
Image: A synthetic cardiac patch boosts recovery of damaged hearts (photo courtesy of NC State University)
A new study describes how a freezable, cell-free, artificial cardiac patch can deliver healing factors directly to the site of myocardial injury.

Developed at the University of North Carolina (UNC; Chapel Hill, USA) and North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh, USA), the new off-the-shelf fully acellular artificial cardiac patch (artCP) is composed of a porcine-based decellularized myocardial extracellular matrix (ECM) scaffold and synthetic encapsulated secreted factors retrieved from isolated human cardiac stromal cells. The artCP thus contains all of the therapeutics secreted by the cells, but without live cells that could trigger an immune response.

In a rat model of acute myocardial infarction (MI), subsequent transplantation of the artCP supported cardiac recovery over a three-week period by promoting angiomyogenesis, reducing scarring by 30%, and improving cardiac function by 50%. The safety and efficacy of the artCP were further confirmed in a porcine model of MI. And while cellular-based scaffold patches need to be freshly prepared to maintain cell viability, the artCP can maintain its potency even after long-term cryopreservation. The study was published on April 8, 2020, in Science Translational Medicine.

“We have developed an artificial cardiac patch that can potentially solve the problems associated with using live cells, yet still deliver effective cell therapy to the site of injury. The patch can be frozen and safely stored for at least 30 days,” said senior author Professor Ke Cheng, PhD, of the NC State/UNC Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. “Since there are no live cells involved, it will not trigger a patient’s immune system to reject it. It is a first step toward a truly off-the-shelf solution to cardiac patch therapy.”

Cell therapy for cardiac remodeling after MI is therapeutic, in part, because of the paracrine effects of factors secreted from human cardiac stromal cells. But low retention and engraftment of transplanted cells can limit potential therapeutic efficacy, while seeding of a scaffold material with cells to create cardiac patches that can be transplanted onto the surface of the heart is a costly, time-consuming procedure, and since they use live cellular material, can increase the risk of tumor formation and arrhythmia.

Related Links:
University of North Carolina
North Carolina State University

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