March 27, 2024

Bioelectric mesh could help track cardiac disease

Editor's Note

Although cardiac disease is the leading cause of human morbidity and mortality globally, the complexity of cardiac tissues makes monitoring difficult. To address this issue, a team from University of Massachusetts Amherst and MIT has created a bioelectronic mesh system that can measure movement of cells in cardiac tissue and grow along with the cells. The findings appeared March 14 in Nature Communications.

Designed to behave like biological tissue, the mesh is made of lab-grown cardiac microtissue and graphene, a thin, flexible, pure carbon substance that is very thin and can conduct charges and survive for long periods of time in a biological environment. The embedded, atom-thin graphene sensors that can measure both the electrical signal and the physical movement of human cardiac tissue cells grown in labs. As the mesh grows with the cardiac cells, researchers can observe how the heart's functions change to gain insight into the progression of cardiac disease and potentially damaging side effects of drug therapies.

This is reportedly the first sensor device capable of measuring both of the heart’s functions—electrical charge and movement—without impeding performance. The researchers hope to continue to develop the new tool for possible use in cardiac monitoring in patients as a means to provide better data for tracking and treating cardiac disease.

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