Scientists develop injectable gels that could prevent heart failure

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Heart attacks cause severe damage to the heart, trauma which, over time, can contribute to heart failure. It can be hard to anticipate and even more difficult to prevent, but a new medical product may be able to help.

Scientists have created an injectable heart gel that will provide support to weakened areas and decrease the chances of heart failure. The gel, which has so far only been tested in animals, was presented by researchers Aug. 22 at the National Meeting and Exposition of American Chemical Society.

Common heart failure treatments currently used include medication, implants and heart transplants, but these methods can be dangerous and finding transplants when you need them is rare.

“It's important we all keep moving forward to figure out how this therapy could be used, because it's different than any current treatment,” said Jason A. Burdick, PhD, lead author on the study, in a statement.

The gels provide mechanical support that stabilize damaged areas of the heart to keep it beating. Made from a type of a natural sugar molecule in the body, it limits the formation of scar tissues, decreases the thinning of the heart’s walls and prevents enlargement of the heart.

Once the gel is finalized, the researchers plan to partner with a catheter firm and introduce the product to the market.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.