Bionic Heart Unveiled at Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University Professor Tal Dvir and PhD student Ron Feiner have engineered a life changing medical device.
The two have just revealed their bionic heart patch, which serves as an alternative to heart transplants. The patch is able to expand and contract, just like a heart does, and can be monitored by remote machines.
Professor Dvir explained, “It’s very science fiction, but it’s already here, and we expect it to move cardiac research forward in a big way. Until now, we could only engineer organic cardiac tissue, with mixed results. Now we have produced viable bionic tissue, which ensures that the heart tissue will function properly."
He continued, “Imagine that a patient is just sitting at home, not feeling well. His physician will be able to log onto his computer and this patient’s file — in real time. He can view data sent remotely from sensors embedded in the engineered tissue and assess exactly how his patient is doing. He can intervene to properly pace the heart and activate drugs to regenerate tissue from afar. The longer-term goal is for the cardiac patch to be able to regulate its own welfare. In other words, if it senses inflammation, it will release an anti-inflammatory drug. If it senses a lack of oxygen, it will release molecules that recruit blood-vessel-forming cells to the heart.”
Dvir joked, “This is a breakthrough, to be sure. But I would not suggest bingeing on cheeseburgers or quitting sports just yet. The practical realization of the technology may take some time. Meanwhile, a healthy lifestyle is still the best way to keep your heart healthy.” VJ