Researchers pioneer new technique to eliminate heart surgery


In heart disease, blood vessels are either clogged or die off, starving the heart of oxygen and leaving it highly susceptible to a cardiac attack.
Britta Hardy and her research partner Alexander Battler, professors at Tel Aviv University's (TAU) Sackler School of Medicine, have shown that an injected protein can potentially regrow blood vessels in the human heart -- doing away with risky surgery altogether.
These new vessels in the heart could give millions of people around the world a new lease on life.
"The biotechnology behind our human-based protein therapy is very complicated, but the goal is simple and the solution is straightforward," said Hardy.
"We intend to inject our drug locally to heal any oxygen-starved tissue. So far in animal models, we've seen no side effects and no inflammation following our injection of the drug into the legs. The growth of new blood vessels happens within a few weeks, showing improved blood circulation."
The protein solution can also be added as a coating to a stent. Currently, the implantation of a stent is accompanied by a high risk for blood clots, which necessitates the use of blood thinners.
"We could coat a stent with our peptide, attracting endothelial stem cells to form a film on the surface of the stent," Hardy explains. "These endothelial cells on the stent would eliminate the need for taking the blood thinners that prevent blood clots from forming."
These findings were published in Biochemical Pharmacology.

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