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Using stem cells and materials to create functioning heart tissue to treat people having a heart attack


  • Cardiovascular Senior Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 28 November, 2023
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Kristopher Kilian

What is the issue for NSW?

14.5 out of 10,000 NSW residents are admitted to hospital for heart attacks each year. Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia and heart attacks are responsible for nearly 1 in 20 deaths.1

Current cell-based approaches to treat heart attack have been ineffective for two primary reasons:

  • lab grown heart cells have not been successful in replacing damaged tissue, and
  • methods to deliver cells do not provide protection to allow engraftment and repair.

Treatments that repair the damage caused by heart attack would be an enormous benefit to the health of NSW residents.


What does the research aim to do and how?

The overarching goal of this research is to develop clinically viable cells and materials to treat patients that have had a heart attack. This research will develop new approaches to creating functional heart tissue through stem cell engineering. We will also develop a novel material to assist in the delivery of the heart cells to patients by providing an injectable matrix that protects cells while simultaneously promoting proliferation and functional engraftment.

This research poses a strong health benefit by overcoming the damage caused by heart attack to reduce suffering and ultimately save lives, and a social/economic benefit through augmenting the medical device and biomedical technology sectors in NSW.