Texas Heart Institute (THI) announced it has received a prestigious American Heart Association grant alongside Rice University. The three-year, $750,000 grant will allow THI and Rice researchers to study and test soft, flexible fibers made of carbon nanotubes. The fibers’ ability to bridge electrical gaps in tissue is a groundbreaking discovery and offers hope to the millions of people affected by cardiac arrhythmias.
“By virtue of providing us this support, the American Heart Association has offered us a unique opportunity to further validate our initial studies that suggest for the first time cardiac electrical conduction through scarred heart tissue can be normalized in a safe, effective manner,” says Dr. Mehdi Razavi, the director of electrophysiology clinical research at THI and the project’s lead manager. “Should these more extensive studies confirm our initial findings, a paradigm shift in treatment of sudden cardiac death will be within reach, as for the first time the underlying cause for these events may be corrected on a permanent basis.”
A beating heart is controlled by electrical signals that prompt its tissues to expand and contract. People who progress to heart failure can have the formation of scar tissue over time – these scars in heart tissue conduct little or no electricity, creating electrical gaps and furthering heart problems.
“These soft, highly conductive fibers may bridge the electric gap in damaged hearts,” continues Dr. Razavi. “They’re like extension cords: they allow us to pick up charge from one side of the scar and deliver it to the other side. Essentially, we’re short-circuiting the short circuit.”
The fibers developed at Rice by the lab of Professor Matteo Pasquali are about a quarter of the size of a human hair. But even an inch-long piece of the material contains millions of nanotubes, microscopic cylinders of pure carbon discovered in the early 1990s. Though the fibers were developed to replace the miles of cables in commercial airplanes to save weight, their potential for medical applications became quickly apparent.
Because the fibers are soft, flexible and extremely tough, they are expected to be far more suitable for biological applications than the metal wires used to deliver power to devices like pacemakers. The fibers’ low impedance (its resistance to current) allows electricity to move from tissue to bridge and back far better than with metal wires.
The fibers show potential for many applications, including helping Parkinson’s Disease patients who require brain implants to treat their neurological conditions. The researchers will continue to test the fiber’s biocompatibility and hope that human trials are no more than a few years away. THI and Rice researchers are eager to use the funding from American Heart Association to continue their collaboration.
“We’ve been excited from the beginning to learn about each other’s areas and come up with uses for the nanotubes,” says Pasquali. “We’re determined to find ways to treat rather than manage disease, and we believe this fiber may help us treat all kinds of cardiac arrhythmias and electrical-conduction issues. With this funding, we will be able to continue to push the envelope in the treatment of heart disease.”
Good luck Houston Dash on tomorrow’s Opening Day! #DashOn #LeadingMedicine
Good luck @HoustonDash on tomorrow’s Opening Day! #DashOn #LeadingMedicine https://t.co/XMu3UQ1C73
TAMU Health Sciences@TAMHSC
#3DPrinting #technology may revolutionize the #pharmaceutical industry in the very near-future: https://t.co/i4Op8Eevce #TAMHSC
Expanding Traumatic Brain Injury treatment options for Veterans https://t.co/43peGDiznA via @VeteransHealth on #VAntagePoint
MD Anderson Cancer Center@MDAndersonNews
Mom’s advice on cancer during pregnancy: “Keep fighting, and don’t ever give up.“ #CancerMoonShot #endcancer https://t.co/vhxqcjALFI https://t.co/1y51kCCy2l
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is @USArmy Veteran Daniel J. Kerrigan. https://t.co/hojAQtCA6n
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Daniel J. Kerrigan. Daniel served during Operation Enduring Freedom during 2004-2005. While living in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Daniel desired to serve his country in the United States Army. After initial trouble passing the military’s standard hearing test, Daniel enlisted in the Army on Oct. 25, 1990, as the military occupation specialty of 11X at 27-years-old. Daniel excelled in boot camp and infantry school. In July of 2004, Daniel deployed to the Kandahar province, Afghanistan, to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom. Attached to Charlie Company of the 25th Infantry division, he and his partner, Major Robert Doshee, were tasked to mentor and train an Afghani unit and their leaders. During his combat deployment in Afghanistan, he was awarded the Bronze Star with valor for saving the life of his friend, Steve DeYoung. Along with the Bronze Star, Daniel also received the Afghanistan Campaign medal and a Purple Heart. Daniel left active duty in 2007. Thank you for your service, Daniel!
RT @UTPhysicians: https://t.co/3NsWuRAHDF
RT @MDA_UTHGrad: Volunteers with Faithful Paws brought five therapy animals (4 dogs & a cat) to visit with Graduate School students in the…
RT @UTPhysicians: Thank you to everyone who came out today to celebrate the grand opening of UT Physicians - Jensen! https://t.co/tbbWOrPmtM
Hundreds of volunteers helping to clean up Chalmette @VANatCemeteries https://t.co/zudKD1DYBu via @WGNOtv
MD Anderson Cancer Center@MDAndersonNews
Survivor of multiple cancers @LainieMSchultz has advice for newly diagnosed patients: ”You’ll get through it.“ #endcancer https://t.co/rKYAmH20nj
We've all nicked ourselves shaving, but why do certain times cause you to bleed more than others? Dr. Iberia Sosa explains: https://t.co/vgmnux8Ofa
Baylor College of MedicineBaylorCollegeOfMedicine
Missed Match Day last week? Check out our recap. #Match2018 #MatchBCM
4.3, 6-8 p.m.: @MethodistHosp Willowbrook Hospital free informative session about surgical options for the next step toward achieving your weight loss goals https://t.co/TdgYrFuxGN https://t.co/vAAuaEVAHZ