A team of American and Irish scientists developed the first of its kind, which is implanted as a patch on the heart after a heart attack, acting therapeutically, as it transports it directly and in a controlled way to drugs, proteins and stem cells.
Heart tissue damage after a heart attack can lead to heart failure. Today’s treatments are either invasive or difficult to reach in the areas of the heart with the lesions. The new device allows for a local, renewable and modifiable non-invasive treatment to prevent heart failure after the heart attack.
The small device named Herepi, whose contents can be renewed with new therapies, is attached directly to the heart. It contains a new biomaterial as a sponge, which retains and slowly releases its therapeutic content through a membrane of a semi-permeable polymer. The biomaterial can be attached to a pump outside the body (which is placed on or under the skin) and thus renews its contents periodically when its therapeutic effect is exhausted.
In a pre-clinical trials conducted by researchers at the Harvard, MIT and Dublin University College of Trinity, headed by Assistant Professor Ellen Ross of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Institute of Medical Engineering at MIT, they published the relevant publication in the biomedical journal “Nature Biomedical Engineering” technology, showed that Therepi is able to improve heart function for over a month.
The same device can be used in the future over heart disease and other diseases in other body organs.