Patches developed for the first time for patients with cardiac muscle weakness

Heart patch from stem cells for patients with heart failure
Heart failure is one of the most common fatal diseases. German researchers have now succeeded in producing a special patch for the reconstruction of lost heart muscle tissue.

One of the most common fatal diseases
Myocardial weakness affects more than 20 million people worldwide and is one of the most common diseases with fatal consequences. In recent years, new approaches to treating heart failure have been reported. For example, scientists at the Hannover Medical School (MHH) found that more iron could help some patients because it makes the heart more resilient. Researchers from Göttingen are now reporting on another option: a plaster for the reconstruction of lost heart muscle tissue.

The number of patients with cardiac muscle weakness will increase
As stated in a communication from the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG), previous therapeutic approaches can slow the course of the disease, but cannot repair the heart.

As the number of patients with cardiac muscle weakness continues to increase due to demographic change, the development of new reparative therapy methods is of particular importance.

Researchers at the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) at the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), location Göttingen, have now, for their own account, succeeded for the first time in so-called heart patches or “Engineered Heart Muscle” (EHM) for the reconstruction of lost ones To produce myocardial tissue under conditions suitable for clinical applications.

Beating heart patch made
To this end, the scientists have developed the manufacturing conditions for EHM to such an extent that testing EHM in patients with cardiac muscle weakness in controlled clinical trials appears to be feasible for the first time.

Through the use of 3D printing processes, it has also been possible to produce beating heart plasters in the size and shape required for patients with cardiac muscle weakness. The EHM show properties of the adult heart that could not previously be achieved in the laboratory.

This includes, among other things, an increase in heart strength as the heart rate increases; a mechanism that is detectable in every healthy person and is lost in cardiac muscle weakness. The method and the first exemplary applications in the field of drug testing and heart repair have now been published in the journal "Circulation".

Crucial breakthrough
"From our point of view, the highly defined culture conditions that we have developed are a decisive breakthrough for an application in drug development as well as for heart repair," said first author Dr. Painted Tiburcy from the UMG.

Prof. Dr. Wolfram-Hubertus Zimmermann, Director of the UMG's Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology and senior author of the publication, added: “On the basis of the process we have developed, we are currently preparing the world's first clinical study of cardiac muscle building using cardiac patches in patients with cardiac muscle weakness. "

Without endangering patients
As the experts explain, the concept of heart repair is based on the precise fitting of beating heart muscle tissue from the laboratory into the diseased heart.

The stable function similar to the heart and the possibility of simulating cardiac muscle weakness with typical clinical side effects (loss of strength, cell death, biomarker release) are of central importance for drug development.

"Especially for the development of effective and safe drugs, human tests can be carried out using the method developed at the UMG without endangering test subjects and patients," he said in a message.

Cardiac muscle cells are obtained from human pluripotent stem cells and mixed with connective tissue cells in collagen. In 3D-printed culture forms, heart muscle tissue with different shape and function can be created.

The function of the heart tissue developed by the Göttingen researchers can be tracked with the naked eye without the aid of microscopes, thereby classic properties of human heart tissue become visible and measurable. According to the scientists, this is of central importance for an application in drug development and heart repair. (ad)

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