In the last week, a new study was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering that describes a new device named Therepi, which can be used for stopping heart failure after an attack. The study details how it can restore cardiac function.
According to the researchers, Therepi device possesses a reservoir that gets attached directly to the damaged heart tissue. It has a refill line that connects the reservoir with a port on or under the patient’s skin, right where the therapies can be injected through.
If the patient already has some degree of heart failure, we can use the device to attenuate the progression – Ellen Roche, assistant professor at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.
She is the co-first author of the study.
Two traditional methods to stop heart failure are insufficient as well as invasive. Therepi device offers the delivery of therapy to the patient’s heart via administering the process. It also ensures drug delivery as many times needed. Additionally, the reservoir of the device can be implanted on the human heart via surgical processes only.
The study mentions that the reservoir holds the outstanding potential to deliver the drug to heart. It is made out of a gelatin-based polymer, being half-spherically shaped, and its flat bottom gets attached to the affected tissue.
This flat bottom has an adjustable semi-permeable membrane. It can be adjusted to pass drugs consisting of larger materials to the heart directly. In stem cell therapy, the reservoir acts as a cell factory, where the cells stay within it for producing paracrine factors that boost healing in the damaged tissue of the heart.
There was a rat model of Therepi that demonstrated its effectiveness to improve cardiac function after a heart attack. Multiple doses of cells were administered to a damaged heart for over four weeks.
After that, hemodynamic changes were analyzed via a pressure volume catheter, and functional changes over time was compared via echocardiography. Results observed were positive, as the hearts using Therepi had more cardiac functions than hearts receiving a single injection or no treatment.
The capabilities of Therepi device has further opened ways for cardiac and other diagnosis types. Not just that it provides for multiple doses to deliver, but it can as well be used for measuring exact required dosage for various conditions.
While focusing on how the device can mitigate heart disease effects on the body, researchers found out that it can be used for other body parts too. Design optimization and adjustment of materials for constructing the reservoir will lead the device to become useful for a broad range of diseases and health problems.
The researchers of the study are from Harvard University, MIT, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s Royal Challenge of Surgeons, AMBER Center, and the National University of Ireland Galway. Medical science may just have taken one step ahead with the introduction of their developed device Therepi!