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Nanotechnology to repair heart

Engineers at Brown University and in India have created a nanopatch with carbon nanofibers and a polymer to repair heart damaged after heart attack.

When there is a heart attack, a part of the heart dies. During that time, nerve cells of heart wall and those cells which keep the heart beating do not function. Heart surgeons can not even repair the affected area of the heart.
Using nanotechnology, scientists have built a scaffold-looking structure consisting of carbon nanofibers and a polymer as a patching solution. In laboratory tests, natural heart-tissue cell density on the nanoscaffold was six times greater than the control sample, while neuron density had doubled.
Tests have shown that such a synthetic nanopatch can regenerate natural heart tissue cells ¬ called cardiomyocytes as well as neurons meaning that a dead region of the heart can be brought back to life.
Researchers of Brown and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur employed carbon nanofibers, helical-shaped tubes with diameters between 60 and 200 nanometers. The carbon nanofibers work well because they are excellent conductors of electrons, performing the kind of electrical connections the heart relies upon for keeping a steady beat. The researchers stitched the nanofibers together using a poly lactic-co-glycolic acid polymer to form a mesh about 22 millimeters long and 15 microns thick and resembling "a black Band Aid." They laid the mesh on a glass substrate to test whether cardiomyocytes would colonize the surface and grow more cells.
In tests with the 200-nanometer-diameter carbon nanofibers seeded with cardiomyocytes, five times as many heart-tissue cells colonized the surface after four hours than with a control sample consisting of the polymer only. After five days, the density of the surface was six times greater than the control sample, the researchers reported. Neuron density had also doubled after four days, they added.
The scaffold works because it is elastic and durable, and can thus expand and contract much like heart tissue. This is a great boon to millions if heart patients.

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