A potential breakthrough
Our top-notch educational institutions are renowned for their quality standards in not just academics and exciting placements, but also in the crucial areas of research and development. In yet another remarkable achievement, scientists at IIT Guwahati have fabricated a 3D cardiac tissue patch using silk protein membranes seeded with heart muscle cells. The patch can potentially be used for regenerating damaged heart tissue. If successful and developed further, this can be a breakthrough achievement for patients with damaged organs. There are rather frequent needs for organ transplant and with that, apart from medical expertise, the aspects that come to the fore pertain to finances and economic status. Organ transplant is an expensive affair which many cannot afford. Donation of organs is a very noble thing to do but it has not clicked well with common people owing to an array of reasons, mostly religious and socio-cultural. While a bent of mind for donation is encouraged, the need for donations of organs for implants might just be eased with this IIT Guwahati experiment taking form. To begin with, this muga silk patch can repair damaged heart tissue. This fabricated 3D patch can be implanted at the sight of damage to help regain its normal function. This 3D patch can also seal holes in the heart. This research is led by Biman Mandal from the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT Guwahati. Cardiac tissue gets permanently damaged when oxygen supply is reduced or cut off during a heart attack. The damaged portion gets scarred and does not contract and relax, and over time, leads to a change in the shape of the heart and reduced pumping capacity – which means gradual organ damage. As heart tissue continuously contracts and relaxes, the engineered tissue needs to have good elasticity. The muga silk exhibited good elasticity and mechanical strength comparable to native heart tissue. Only 2 per cent silk proteins were used to make the membrane. There are many benefits to advanced education and they spill out on several areas of life and this experiment at IIT Guwahati establishes it. So, while awareness about organ donation happens steadily, researches help find a way when there seem to be none.