Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel have developed a “cyborg heart patch” for replacing injured cardiac tissue. There has been considerable research on creating scaffolds seeded with cardiac cells, but simply delivering a bunch of cells in a neat package produces underwhelming results. The new patch developed at TAU integrates electronics alongside the cellular scaffold to both monitor and influence the activity of the cells.
The device can record intercellular electrical activity and deliver pulses to make the cardiomyocytes contract to a defined beat. Additionally, the researchers demonstrated that the electrodes within the patch can be covered with drugs to provide controlled release of medication right to the nearby heart cells.
This is certainly an impressive achievement that may herald a truly therapeutic approach for treating cardiac infarcts and other conditions of the heart.