Researchers at the University of Tel Aviv had developed a proof-of-concept “bionic patch” designed to monitor and treat heart conditions in real time, according to a report from Reuters.
The patch features engineered, functional tissue integrated with electronics and is designed to give doctors new options for treating myriad heart problems.
Findings from the development of the heart were published in the journal Nature Materials this month.
“Well, this is the 1st time that engineered tissue, thick engineered tissue, functional tissues, are integrated with electronics to become cyborg tissues, meaning that there is integration of machine and living tissues,” Tal Dvir of Tel Aviv University told Reuters.
The newly developed heart patch is comprised of live, lab-grown heart tissue and nano-electronics embedded on a 3D printed scaffold, according to the report.
Researchers on the development team for the patch say it could offer an alternative to heart transplantation as the device can be used to release medications as well as to repopulate the defected area with cells that are capable of contraction.
The device can also monitor the heart and activate the organ as needed, as well as notifying physicians of potentially fatal problems in real time, according to the report.
“The patient is sitting in his house and not feeling well and the physician immediately sees the condition of the heart on his computer and can remotely activate the heart: can provide electrical stimulation, can release drugs. And if you really think about this technology, we don’t even need a physician because the cardiac patch can regulate its own function,” Dvir said.
Development of the heart patch is still years from commercial viability, the team said, with both animal trials and clinical trials in humans on the horizon.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.