Researchers say new approach could replace heart transplant
A bionic patch made from living cardiac cells will help repair diseased hearts.
That is the claim of Israeli scientists who have developed a new technique to integrate living tissue with electronics.
Tal Dvir, Professor of Tel Aviv University's Department of Bio Technology, Department of Material Science and Engineering and the Centre for Nano Technology: "What we've done here, we have created this smart patch, smart cardiac patch. The patch is not only comprised of the cells and the bio materials that make the cells a tissue, it also comprise, or integrating smart electronics, nano-electronics within. And the roll of electronics is to sense the function of the tissue and to provide... or activate the tissue when needed."
Researchers say this presents a new approach to treating heart diseases which are the number one cause of death in the western world. The patch could offer an alternative to heart transplantation in the future.
Tal Dvir, Professor of Tel Aviv University's Department of Bio Technology, Department of Material Science and Engineering and the Centre for Nano Technology: "The patient is sitting in his house and not feeling well and the physician immediately sees the condition of the heart on his computer and can remotely activate the heart: can provide electrical stimulation, can release drugs. And if you really think about this technology, we don't even need a physician because the cardiac patch can regulate its own function."
The bionic heart patch is still years from commercial viability. The next step is a series of animals trials that if successful could lead to clinical tests on humans.