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February 10, 2012
Cardiovascular diseases and heart problems are becoming more and more common nowadays, and a great deal of people suffer from such ailments like hypertension, artery or heart disease, hyperlipidemia, endocarditis, and many more. Such factors as aging, the amount of daily exercise, bad habits, environmental pollution, and others play a role as causes of heart problems. Nowadays, a great deal of researches and studies are being carried out in order to find effective cures and treatments for the most common cardiovascular diseases and related health conditions, to save thousands of lives and make our life happier and longer.
A group of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Germany, carried out a very interesting and promising research. They used the Tasar silk as a basic material to produce special replacement tissue which will possibly be good for human heart. It is known that our heart has to work really hard to support the function of all our body systems, and when heart muscle tissues get damaged, it is impossible to regenerate them effectively in a natural way. Damaged tissues lead to scars which can sometimes cause serious cardiovascular conditions and heart problems.
As a result of their experiments, German scientists managed to create a unique 3D model of human heart by integrating artificial heart muscle cells received from the Tasar silk (produced by a tropical silkworm), into a 3D framework. They found out that it is possible to grow such muscle tissue in the laboratory and successfully use to replace damaged tissue in human heart. It was one of very rare successful attempts of such replacement as the previous artificial heart muscle tissues were either refused by the body, attacked by the immune system, or simply too brittle for further clinical application.
However, the muscle tissues produced in the labs of the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, did not display any of the common disadvantages of artificial muscle tissues, and the experiments were very much successful. “The surface (of the fibre) has protein structures that facilitate the adhesion of heart muscle cells. It’s also coarser than other silk fibres,” Chinmoy Patra, one of the experts of the study group, commented on the procedure. “The communication between the cells was intact and they beat synchronously over a period of 20 days, just like real heart muscle,” the expert added. Though further experiments and the time are in need in order to develop a new effective technology for heart muscle tissue replacement, the findings are considered extremely promising and significant.Author Info: Hi! My name is Carla and I am a 5th year medical student at HYMS. I am interested in alternative medicine and I have done months researching the topic of herbal medicine. Besides, I like interviewing people and learning more about their experiences with one or another type of herbal treatments. I am willing to contribute to this site with my knowledge, and I would be happy to help you out to the best of my ability with any specific questions or problems related to alternative medicine.