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Seaweed Gel Promises to Mend Damaged Hearts

by Thilaka Ravi on August 12, 2008 at 4:39 PM
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 Seaweed Gel Promises to Mend Damaged Hearts

Scientists at Israel's Ben Gurion University developed the seaweed gel, codenamed BL-1040 that helps to repair heart tissue after it is damaged in a heart attack.

After an attack scar tissue forms and it tends to be thinner and weaker than the original. The left ventricle also becomes much bigger and as a result the heart has to work harder to function. This can trigger future heart failure.

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The gel is made from ordinary brown seaweed and can be injected into the heart with a catheter fed through a vein in the groin.

When injected into the area of the heart where the tissue has been damaged by an attack, the gel solidifies.  This allows a thick layer of scar tissue to grow, helping the heart to continue working normally.
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In lab experiments, 90 per cent of animals injected with the gel survived a heart attack compared to just 40 per cent that received no treatment at all.

Clinical trials have started in Germany, Belgium and Israel on people who have suffered a major heart attack. According to the researchers, if the trials prove successful, the substance could hit the markets by the year 2011.

Source: Medindia
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