Cardiovascular disease is a very significant clinical problem - its the leading cause of death in the Western world. Our research is focused towards developing future therapies for patients who might have had a heart attack or some other form of heart disease, and the primary focus is to develop materials that mimic the natural heart muscle tissue so that we can help regenerate any damaged or diseased heart muscle tissue. Were using a tissue engineering approach that combines cells with a polymeric template, called a scaffold. Here in this video we can see the actual heart muscle cells contracting in response to electrical field stimulation. This funding enabled us to purchase a new laser, made in America, that can significantly accelerate our in-house production of these new scaffolds for testing of our new ideas. Also this funding really expanded collaboration between MIT and Draper Laboratory, which has a dedicated and growing program in Biomedical Engineering. Developing new technologies for repairing dysfunctional heart tissue can significantly impact human health care given the very high prevalence and economic cost of heart attack, heart failure, and congenital heart defects.
Lisa E. Freed, M.D., Ph.D. Senior Scientist, Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, Massachusetts Affiliated Research Scientist, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts Rational Design of a Cardiac Tissue Engineering Scaffold Administered by the NHLBI Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, Advanced Technologies and Surgery Branch FY 2009 Recovery Act Funding: $690,516