Feature | EP Lab | September 14, 2015

Texas Researchers Receive Grant for New Heart Electrical Repair Device

Nanotube fibers may restore electrical health to damaged hearts

Texas Heart Institute, Rice University, grant, nanotubes, heart, electrical signals

September 14, 2015 — Texas Heart Institute (THI) announced that 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,” said Mehdi Razavi, M.D., 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," continued 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 Prof. 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," said 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.”

For more information: www.texasheart.org

Related Content

A 3-D rendering created from the chest CT scan of a 41-year-old coronavirus patient in China showing ground-glass opacities in several areas of the lungs from the coronavirus pneumonia. This was from one of the first medical imaging studies published on COVID-19 in the journal Radiology. #coronavirus #COVID2019 #COVID19 #2019nCoV

A 3-D rendering created from the chest CT scan of a 41-year-old coronavirus patient in China showing ground-glass opacities in several areas of the lungs from the coronavirus pneumonia. This was from one of the first medical imaging studies published on COVID-19 in the journal Radiology. 

Feature | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | February 20, 2020 | Dave Fornell, Editor
February 20, 2020 — The American College of Cardiology (ACC) released a
The first 3-D images have been created of an RNA molecule known as "Braveheart" for its role in transforming stem cells into heart cells. Credit: Image courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory

The first 3-D images have been created of an RNA molecule known as "Braveheart" for its role in transforming stem cells into heart cells. Credit: Image courtesy Los Alamos National Laboratory

News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | January 20, 2020
January 20, 2020 — Scientists at Los Alamos and international partners have created the first 3-D images of a special
Top Cardiology New in 2019 From the European Society of Cardioloigy (ESC)
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | December 23, 2019
Environmental and lifestyle issues were popular this year, with pick up from both...
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | November 26, 2019
November 26, 2019 — The University of Connecticut (UConn) Department of Kinesiology and Hartford Healthcare have sele
FDA Issues Final Guidance on Live Case Presentations During IDE Clinical Trials
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | July 10, 2019
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the final guidance “Live Case Presentations During Investigational...
Veradigm Partners With American College of Cardiology on Next-generation Research Registries
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | July 03, 2019
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has partnered with Veradigm, an Allscripts business unit, to power the next...
New FDA Proposed Rule Alters Informed Consent for Clinical Studies
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | November 19, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to add an exception to informed consent requirements for...
A key slide from Elnabawi's presentation, showing cardiac CT plaque evaluations, showing the impact of psoriasis medication on coronary plaques at baseline and one year of treatment. It shows a reversal of vulnerable plaque development. #SCAI, #SCAI2018

A key slide from Elnabawi's presentation, showing cardiac CT plaque evaluations, showing the impact of psoriasis medication on coronary plaques at baseline and one year of treatment. It shows a reversal of vulnerable plaque development.  

Feature | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | May 14, 2018
May 14, 2018 – New clinical evidance shows common therapy options for psoriasis (PSO), a chronic inflammatory skin di
Intravenous Drug Use is Causing Rise in Heart Valve Infections, Healthcare Costs. #SCAI, #SCAI2018
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | May 14, 2018
May 14, 2018 — The opioid drug epidemic is impacting cardiology, with a new study finding the number of patients hosp
Patient Enrollment Completed in U.S. IDE Study of THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH SF Catheter
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | March 15, 2018
March 15, 2018 –  Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies announced today that Biosense Webster, Inc., who wo
Overlay Init