Weave me a heart – Silk looks promising for blood vessels in heart disease patients

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In Australia, scientists from the Heart Research Institute found that silk could prove to be a valuable biomaterial alternative to creating blood vessels in heart disease patients who don’t have healthy veins. Patients usually need veins taken from elsewhere in their body to replace the heart vessels, or doctors can use synthetic plastic materials like what is used in Gore-Tex or water bottles, but they don’t usually do very well in the body, often causing clots. The natural properties of silk could prove it to be a better alternative as it is compatible with the human body while being flexible and ultra-strong which is perfect for a blood vessel.

The research took several years but several animal experiments show impressive results after six months of blood vessels made from the silk, as the longer the silk was inside the animal, the better it did and integrated well with the natural cells of the body. They expect to begin human testing within two years.