SCIENTISTS have developed thumb-sized plasters that can help repair the heart after an attack.
The patches, sewn in place during surgery, contain stem cells programmed to turn into heart muscle cells.
2 Scientists have developed thumb-sized plasters that can help repair the heart after an attackCredit: Getty – Contributor
Tests found they begin to beat by themselves in three days and eventually help the damaged heart muscle pump more efficiently.
Chemicals within them also stimulate cells to repair and regenerate. Human trials are due to start within two years.
The ultimate goal is to have a stock of pre-made patches that are compatible with all patients, so heart attack patients could quickly have one implanted.Dr Richard Jabbour, of the London British Heart Foundation Centre of Regenerative Medicine, said the patches may one day become an off- the-shelf treatment prescribed by GPs.
The BHF’s Prof Metin Avkiran said the research “has the potential to mend broken hearts”.
Prof Metin Avkiran, from the BHF, said: “This is a prime example of world-leading research that has the potential to mend broken hearts and transform lives around the globe.
“If clinical trials can show the benefits of these heart patches in people after a heart attack, it would be a great leap forward for regenerative medicine.
“Heart failure is a debilitating and life-changing condition with no cure, making everyday tasks incredibly difficult.
“If we can patch the heart up and help it heal, we could transform the outlook for these people.”
2 Dr Richard Jabbour said the patches may one day become an off- the-shelf treatment prescribed by GPs
The heart is starved of nutrients and oxygen during a heart attack, killing parts of its muscle and hampering its ability to pump blood.
This weakens the heart and can lead to heart failure, which makes everyday tasks like climbing the stairs and getting dressed exhausting.
The condition affects an estimated 920,000 people in the UK, including Claire Marie Berouche, 52, from Ealing in west London, who developed heart failure after a heart attack when she was just 45.
She said: “Living with heart failure has changed my life.
“I can’t do the everyday normal things I used to do like popping to the shops or even just stay out late with friends.
“New treatments like these potential heart patches give me hope that one day they could cure me and mend my broken heart.”
Research on the patches is being presented at the British Cardiovascular Society Conference in Manchester.
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