Following cardiovascular disease or heart attacks the victim's heart suffers damage to the tissue that results in part of the heart actually dying, meaning that the organ cannot then repair the damage itself.
The consortium hopes to change this by developing 'scaffolds' to control stem cell recruitment, proliferation and differentiation and enabling angiogenesis for cardiovascular engineered tissues. The 'scaffolds', which will mimic nature by 'ordering' the heart to heal itself, will then be administered to the heart by means of a sutured patch or an injectable solution.
This large-scale collaborative project - named BioScent, which has been co-funded under the European Commission's Framework 7 Programme, is expected to take five years to complete and requires a balance of partners with complementary expertise, both industrial and academic, to ensure that the project's objectives are met.
The consortium therefore consists of 15 high quality participants, including University of Pisa, University of Manchester, ITAV, The UK Health and Environmental Research Institute (UK HERI), University of Parma and Europe's largest cardiovascular company Sorin, each with a specific area of expertise.
The successful completion and implementation of BioScent will have a potentially profound effect upon the treatment of cardiovascular disease and for cardiac arrest sufferers as it will facilitate regeneration of cardiac tissue thus minimising required surgical intervention or heart transplants.