A first human protein gel to repair heart attack injuries has been developed by researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI).
This gel is composed of recombinant collagen of human origin. It represents, according to its creators, a significant breakthrough towards the goal of repairing myocardial infarction caused by heart attacks. It could potentially save millions of dollars to health systems.
This injectable material is the first in the world to be prepared from human collagen.
Researchers Emilio Alarcon and Erik Suuronen are the lead authors of this work, details of which are published in Nature Communications.
The article describes the results of in vivo experiments performed with the gel. Functional, histological and molecular evaluations were performed after a series of blind randomized trials.
Did you know?
Every year, as many as 70,000 Canadians suffer a heart attack, which is one every seven minutes. Of these, about 15,000 die.
A saving injection
The injection of the gel into damaged heart tissue alleviates pathological remodeling, ie, thickening of the heart wall and formation of scar tissue. It also restores the mechanical properties of the damaged heart muscle.
In addition, the gel can also limit the extent of damage and restore some of the heart function that has been lost.
We believe that the rHCI gel itself produces better results than currently available cellular or pharmacological therapies, which will facilitate its future use in a clinical setting.
This gel has the effect of increasing the number of cardiac muscle cells and capillaries around the damaged area, and to promote the recruitment of an increased number of repair cells at the site of the lesion , adds Dr. Alarcon
This study is a first step towards the development of a biomaterial that can be used to treat patients who have had a heart attack.
Clinical trials of gel in humans could begin within four or five years.
The authors are also hopeful that the gel will one day restore heart function and prevent heart failure in humans. Other studies need to be done for this purpose.