At the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, researchers from University of Pennsylvania are showing off a new hydrogel that may be used to help ailing hearts recover post myocardial infarction. There are already a few hydrogels developed, some going through clinical trials, for helping restore cardiac function. UPenn’s material was developed to result in a stronger product that can be injected right into the myocardium to provide improved structural integrity and a welcoming home for new cells.
The material is liquid at room temperature, but after injection solidifies into a stiff gel. The novel aspect for this research is that the gel creates connections between polymer chains within itself during the stiffening process, resulting in a flexible yet very durable material.
Here’s an American Chemical Society video report on the research: