Although today’s pacemakers are lifesaving electronic devices, they are limited by their artificial nature. For example, their parts can fail or they can become infected. In addition, the devices require regular maintenance, must be replaced periodically, and can only approximate the natural regulation of a heartbeat. A Review article published on November 20 in Trends in Molecular Medicine highlights the promise and limitations of new methods based on stem cell and reprogramming technologies to generate biological pacemakers that might one day replace electronic pacemakers.
“Theoretically, biological pacemakers, which are composed of electrically active cells that can functionally integrate with the heart, could provide natural heart rhythm regulation without the need for indwelling hardware,” says author Vasanth Vedantham, of the University of California, San Francisco.
To create biological pacemakers, one approach is to coax stem cells to become specialized cardiac pacemaker cells that are normally found within the sinoatrial node of the heart. These are then transplanted into an ailing heart to restore pacemaking function. Another promising approach is to directly reprogram supporting cells, already present in the heart–for instance, fibroblasts (e.g., connective tissue)–and convert them into pacemaker cells to restore cardiac function.
Vedantham states that initial large animal studies on biological pacemakers have generated promising results but that much more work remains ahead before biological pacing can be actually considered a clinically viable therapy. For example, researchers need to better understand the mechanisms controlling the development and maintenance of pacemaker cells in the sinoatrial node, just as they must develop ways to compare experimental biological pacemaker tissue with bona fide sinoatrial node tissue. Also, scientists will need to improve the methods used to deliver cells to desired locations within the heart, as well as the recovery of specific individual cells for detailed characterization and functional analyses.
“Biological pacemakers must meet a very high standard of performance to supplant electronic pacemakers,” Vedantham says. “Because even a few seconds without a heartbeat can lead to serious consequences, a biological pacemaker would need to exhibit very robust and reliable performance. It remains to be determined whether this will be technically feasible. Despite such challenges, the field is poised for rapid progress over the next few years,” he adds.
The Latest on: Biological pacemakers
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Biological pacemakers” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Biological pacemakers
- Indications for Cardiac Pacemaker Implantation in Myotonic Dystrophyon February 26, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Objectives: To determine risk factors for cardiac complications in patients with myotonic dystrophy, and to determine whether permanent cardiac pacemakers may be beneficial in the treatment of ...
- Accent MRI Pacemaker from St. Jude Medicalon February 25, 2024 at 3:59 pm
The Accent MRI pacemaker, with the Tendril MRI lead, is an MRI conditional system, offering safe performance of a full-body MRI scan on the patient using a 1.5 T (Tesla) field-strength MRI scanner.
- Today’s pacemakers are better than ever at restoring right rhythmson February 21, 2024 at 4:00 pm
About one million cardiac pacemakers are implanted every year worldwide, with roughly 250,000 of those implanted in the U.S. alone. As populations age and the incidence of various heart conditions ...
- UChicago scientists invent ultra-thin, minimally-invasive pacemaker controlled by lighton February 21, 2024 at 8:00 am
UChicago scientists invent ultra-thin, minimally-invasive pacemaker controlled by light University of Chicago materials researcher Pengju Li holds a prototype pacemaker made of a specially engineered ...
- Scientists invent ultra-thin, minimally-invasive pacemaker controlled by lighton February 20, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Millions of Americans rely on pacemakers—small devices that regulate ... the scientists had to tweak the system to work for biological purposes, rather than how solar cells are usually designed.
- Clinical Cardiology Resource Center Heartwire News High and Lowon February 19, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Medscape Medical News, March 17, 2023 Somatic Reprogramming May Create Biological Pacemakers Researchers have reintroduced the gene TBX18 into an adult cardiac cell and reprogrammed it to generate ...
- Neurons and networks in daily rhythmson February 19, 2024 at 7:22 am
The nervous system is never silent, and neurons often show daily rhythms in their gene and electrical activities. These rhythms arise from near 24-hour feedback loops that involve identified genes ...
- Heart Disease and Pacemakerson February 13, 2024 at 4:00 pm
A pacemaker is a small device that sends electrical impulses to the heart muscle to maintain a suitable heart rate and rhythm. A pacemaker may also be used to treat fainting spells (syncope ...
- Snake Bites, Pacemakers and ‘Hotel’ Stays: The Surprising Costs of Dog Ownershipon February 11, 2024 at 8:00 am
Some dog breeds may be better for your wallet than others, but sooner or later every pet owner faces unexpected costs. We heard from dozens of WSJ readers about their pets’ surprising expenses ...
- A Dual-Chamber Leadless Pacemakeron January 31, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Single-chamber ventricular leadless pacemakers do not support atrial pacing or consistent atrioventricular synchrony. A dual-chamber leadless pacemaker system consisting of two devices implanted ...
via Bing News