A Shot In The Heart May Repair Damage
Monday, March 5, 2012
Aired 3/5/12 on KPBS News.
A San Diego researcher has developed an injectable gel to repair damage caused by a heart attack.
Christman derived the gel from tissue removed from the heart muscle of a pig.
“The hydrogel goes through a cleaning process. It’s freeze-dried and put into a powder form and then liquefied so it can be easily injected into the heart,” she said.
The hydrogel reaches the heart through a catheter, it requires no anesthesia and is considered minimally invasive.
Once the liquid hits body temperature, it turns into a gel that stimulates a stem cell like response to repopulate damaged heart tissues, said Christman.
Early studies in rats found the gel limited tissue damage in the heart following a heart attack.
But, Christman said it would need to be injected within a month after a heart attack to be beneficial.
“Our initial application is looking at treating the early stages of tissue damage after someone has had a heart attack. We’d like to give VentriGel between one to three weeks after a heart attack,” said Christman.
She hopes the gel can be further developed to repair tissue months, or years, after heart damage has occurred.
Christman has co-founded the company Ventrix in hopes of starting clinical trials on the gel next year.
Her injectable-gel study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
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