Scientists invent biomaterial that can heal tissue from the inside out

It's ideal for preventing further damage from heart attacks.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The new biomaterial in the lab.jpg
The new biomaterial in the lab.

UC San Diego 

Scientists at the University of California San Diego have invented a new biomaterial that can be injected intravenously to reduce inflammation in tissue and repair cells, according to a press release by the institution published in late January.

The new material was tested in both rodent and large animal models. It was found to have many case uses in treating tissue damage caused by heart attacks and in aiding patients with traumatic brain injury and pulmonary arterial hypertension.

“This biomaterial allows for treating damaged tissue from the inside out,” said Karen Christman, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego, and the lead researcher on the team that developed the material. 

“It’s a new approach to regenerative engineering.”

Now, the researchers hope to conduct a study on the safety and efficacy of the biomaterial in human subjects within one to two years. Once approved, the material will be put to use, helping those who suffer from heart attacks which have caused them to have scar tissue that diminishes muscle function and can lead to congestive heart failure.

“Coronary artery disease, acute myocardial infarction, and congestive heart failure continue to be the most burdensome public health problems affecting our society today,” said Dr. Ryan R. Reeves, a physician in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at UC San Diego Health. 

“As an interventional cardiologist, who treats patients with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure on a daily basis, I would love to have another therapy to improve patient outcomes and reduce debilitating symptoms.”

Difficult-to-access organs and tissues

Some of the main advantages of the new treatment is that it can be administered immediately after a heart attack and it can get evenly distributed throughout damaged tissue because it’s infused or injected intravenously.

“We sought to design a biomaterial therapy that could be delivered to difficult-to-access organs and tissues, and we came up with the method to take advantage of the bloodstream - the vessels that already supply blood to these organs and tissues,” said Martin Spang, the paper’s first author, who earned his Ph.D. in Christman’s group in the Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.

Now, the team is finding new case uses for the biomaterial. “While the majority of work in this study involved the heart, the possibilities of treating other difficult-to-access organs and tissues can open up the field of biomaterials/tissue engineering into treating new diseases,” Spang said in the press release.

Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
Add Interesting Engineering to your Google News feed.
message circleSHOW COMMENT (1)chevron
Job Board