A sticking plaster has been created by scientists that can aid in healing of damaged hearts by providing a 'scaffold' for healthy cells to regrow.
Packed full of healthy heart cells, it could be used to shore up areas damaged by heart attacks, cutting the odds of further ill health.
AdvertisementTo create the inch-long patch - which is as thin as a human hair and resembles a black sticking plaster - the U.S. researchers first built a 'scaffold' of extra-thin carbon fibres.
In experiments in a dish, healthy heart muscle, nerve and other cells 'crawled' on to the framework, repairing damage to the heart.
In other words, it was able to bring regions of the heart left 'dead' by heart attack back to life.
"This whole idea is to put something where dead tissue is to help regenerate it, so that eventually you have a healthy heart," the Daily Mail quoted David Stout, the study's lead author, as saying.
The researchers believe the carbon fibres worked because they conduct electricity well.
The first animal tests will take place this year but it is likely to be 10 to 15 years before the plasters are routinely used to patch human hearts.
The results appear in the journal Acta Biomaterialia.