March 31, 2014

New Penn-Designed Gel Allows for Targeted Therapy After Heart Attack

(March 31, 2014)  Combatting the tissue degrading enzymes that cause lasting damage following a heart attack is tricky. Each patient responds to a heart attack differently and damage can vary from one part of the heart muscle to another, but existing treatments can’t be fine-tuned to deal with this variation.

University of Pennsylvania researchers have developed a way to address this problem via a material that can be applied directly to the damaged heart tissue. The potentially dangerous enzymes break down this gel-like material, releasing enzyme inhibitors contained within. This responsive, balancing approach is ideal for keeping enzymes at the right level to minimize the long-term damage that can lead to congestive heart failure.