Each time an individual suffers a heart attack and survives, unfortunately something happens to the heart permanently: some of the cells that constitute this organ die. Those cells can be:
- Cardiomyocytes (striated muscle cells found in the heart, derived from cardiac myoblasts);
- Neurons (in the wall of the heart).
These dead tissues give to the heart muscles weakening. Consequently, the heart becomes weaker and more vulnerable to future recurrent heart attacks.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide are believed to suffer from heart attacks related to the weakness caused by weakened heart muscle due to a previous heart attack.
The scientist Bikramjit Basu (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India) and scientists at Brown University in the USA carried out studies employing nanotechnology to create small synthetic nanostructures with the capability of regenerating those two different types of natural tissue cells of the heart that have died in previous heart attacks (cardiomyocites and neurons in the wall of the heart).
Those scientists used a polymer to attach carbon nanotubes (CNTs) helical-shaped, generating these way nanofibers. Those studies demonstrated that when the nanofibers were seeded with natural heart tissue cells, five times as many cells colonized the surface within four hours.
Those findings are presently yet to be submitted to tests through clinical trials. This work was published in the Acta Biomaterialia.
The relevance of these studies carried out by the scientist Bikramjit Basu (Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India) and researchers at Brown University in the USA lies in the following benefits:
- They have created the very first fix for resuscitating dead heart tissues in the world;
- An approach was discovered that can help millions of heart attack patients avoid a recurrent heart attack. This highly ingenious and meritorious work will open doors for a dramatic reduction in repeated heart attacks;
- These studies, once optimized, promise a quick and very effective therapy of the damaged heart;
- This work will also open wide doors to significant progresses in the adoption of nanotechnology in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.
Regarding the last benefit presented, it is important to enhance some of the breakthroughs that can be made in the future, unleashed by these and other studies:
- Regeneration or resuscitation of neurons responsible for paraplegic and quadriplegic patients;
- Regeneration or resuscitation of neurons of patients suffering from conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS);
- Reconstruction or regeneration of whole organs fully or partially damaged by injury or illness.