ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY

Breakthrough biomaterials heal tissues from the inside out


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A new biomaterial can reduce tissue inflammation and promote cell and tissue repair by intravenous injection. The biomaterial has been tested in rodents and large animals and has been shown to be effective in treating tissue damage caused by heart attacks. Studies have also shown that it is even beneficial for patients with traumatic brain injury and pulmonary hypertension.

“This is a new approach to regenerative engineering.” Karen Christman, a professor of bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego and principal investigator of the material development team, said, “This biomaterial can treat damaged tissue from the inside out. ”

Recently, the researchers published the discovery in Nature Biomedical Engineering. Christman added: “A study on the safety and efficacy of this biomaterial in human trials will be initiated within a year or two. ”

An estimated 785,000 new cases of heart disease occur in the United States each year. Scar tissue forms after a heart attack, which weakens muscle function and can lead to congestive heart failure. There is currently no definitive treatment to repair the resulting heart tissue damage.

“Coronary artery disease, acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure remain the most serious public health problems in society today.” Ryan Reeves, a physician in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, said, “As an interventional cardiologist, I wanted a therapy to improve patient outcomes and reduce debilitating symptoms. ”

In previous research, Christman-led team developed a hydrogel called the extracellular matrix made from a natural scaffold of heart muscle tissue. It can be injected into damaged heart muscle tissue through a catheter, creating a scaffold in the damaged area of the heart, promoting new cell growth and repair.

In 2019, they reported the results of a successful Phase 1 human clinical trial. But because the hydrogel needs to be injected directly into the heart muscle, it should only be used for a week or more after a heart attack, and there is a risk of injury when used too early.

The team hopes to develop a treatment that can be implemented immediately after a heart attack. This means developing a biomaterial that is injected into the blood vessels of the heart, or injected intravenously. It can be used in conjunction with other treatments, such as angioplasty or stents.

Martin Spang, first author of the paper, said: “We are trying to design a biomaterial therapy that can deliver it to inaccessible organs and tissues. To this end, we propose a method of utilizing the blood vessels that supply blood to these organs and tissues. ”

One advantage of this new biomaterial is that it can be injected or injected intravenously and thus evenly distributed in the damaged tissue. In contrast, hydrogels injected through a catheter stay in a specific location and do not spread.

The team’s previously developed hydrogel was shown to be compatible with blood injection, but the particle size of the hydrogel was too large to enter blood vessels. To solve this problem, Spang puts the liquid precursors of the hydrogel into a centrifuge to filter the larger particles, keeping only the nanometer-sized particles.

The resulting material is then dialyzed and sterile filtered before freeze-dried. Finally, sterile water is added to the resulting powder to produce a biomaterial that can be injected intravenously or injected into the coronary arteries of the heart.

The researchers then tested the biomaterial on a rodent heart attack model. It binds to vascular endothelial cells, closes the vascular space, accelerates vascular healing, and thus reduces inflammation. They also got similar results in a pig heart attack model.

The team also targeted other types of inflammation with the same biomaterial in rat models of traumatic brain injury and pulmonary hypertension.

“While much of the work in this research involves the heart, the possibility of new biomaterials to treat other organs and tissues will broaden the field of biomaterials/tissue engineering to treat new diseases.” Christman said. (Source: Wang Fang, China Science News)

Related paper information:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-022-00964-5



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