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BE's Hong Receives AHA Grant to Develop Bioactive Cardiac Patch

Friday, November 21, 2014

UTA Bioengineer Yi HongA heart attack is a life-changing event, and the resulting muscle damage weakens the heart and makes it difficult for a patient to recover. Yi Hong, an assistant bioengineering professor, is using a new, $140,000 grant from the American Heart Association to develop a bioactive patch that will help restore function to the heart and extend the patient’s life.

When a person suffers a myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart muscle dies and the walls of the heart become thin and weak. This weakness may cause the heart to expand too much lessen its ability to effectively move blood through the body. Hong’s bioactive scaffold will strengthen the heart muscle, then become part of the heart. The scaffold will take the form of a patch that is made of elastic materials that will stretch, then return to place. In time, the scaffold will attract regenerative cells that will help the heart heal itself.

“We have designed a new polymer to combine with the heart. It has very good mechanical matching and good bioactivity, so it will allow new heart muscle to grow in over it, creating new heart tissue, before the patch biodegrades,” Hong explained. “This really focuses on the patient. Once the design is ready, we will be able to suture the patch in place over the affected area to quickly restore the area and extend the patient’s life.”