A Material That Will Patch Damaged Hearts And Provide Muscle For Robots
A group of researchers led by Ali Khademhosseini, a professor at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have created a new hybrid material that might be soon widely used to patch tissue damaged by heart attacks and provide muscle for robots made of living tissues. The results of their work are described online in the journal ACS Nano. This material composed of cell-friendly gel, strong, conductive carbon nanotubes, and living cardiac cells imitates natural heart tissue far better than all the previous tries, which didn’t match the electrical conductivity of heart tissue and were not mechanically strong. The new bionic tissues are more elastic, they have much better conductivity and besides they are better at heart tissue’s main job, beating in synchrony. Since carbon nanotubes are not biodegradable and will obviously stay in the body for a long time, they must be proved to be non-toxic. Khademhosseini asserts the material may be used in biological machines that asses and restore toxic environments or repair buildings.