About 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year. The attack occurs as a result of coronary arteries clogging by debris of cells and scar tissue, eventually narrowing the artery and preventing blood from reaching the heart tissue. Due to the resulting ischemia (lack of blood flow), cardiac muscle cells suffer of lack of oxygen and eventually die, rendering the heart incapacitated.
Coronary heart disease kills over 370,000 Americans (ca. one in a thousand) every year. Yet even the lucky ones to survive a heart attack are left with “a broken heart”, incapable of contracting fully and supplying enough blood to the entire organism. So far, nothing could be done to repair or replace the dead muscle tissue, and 50% of people surviving a heart attack are bound to die due to a heart failure within the next five years.
This sad situation is, however, about to change. A group of Tel-Aviv University researchers, headed by Prof. Tal Dvir, is working on a printable biocompatible scaffold bearing nano-electric abilities that may be used to surgically replace dead cardiac muscle tissue. Following implantation, the tissue would transfer electric currents and can even serve as a pacemaker. Now, this is truly deep innovation!
The innovative treatment would, however, require another several years of animal and human clinical trials – thus emphasizing again the importance of facilitating deep innovation and university venture – research strands pursued by the Coller Institute of Venture.
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