Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a class of diseases that involve coronary artery diseases (CAD) such as angina and myocardial infarction. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death across the globe and they resulted in nearly 20 million in 2017, up from 12.3 million in 1990. Researchers are developing novel technologies to treat cardiovascular diseases better in the coming years.
Lately, researchers have developed personalized heart models to aid surgery. 3D-printed models of the heart are created from MRI scans of children with congenital heart disease by scientists at University College of London and this will aid patient communication ahead of surgery. The patient-specific model will help cardiac specialists better explain the nature of heart disorders to patients and their families, and these 3D models are “incredibly useful” and “realistic” and much easier to “understand” compared to traditional imaging, such as echocardiograms. The research team believes this boosts parents’ understanding of the disease condition and help them engage with the surgical team. The research team is also working with Great Ormond Street Hospital to produce computer simulations to plan surgery in children born with heart problems. The researchers hope that this personalized approach will help cardiac surgeons work with families of the affected children to decide on the best treatment for the child.
In another development, researchers at the University of Surrey have developed nanomaterial-based technology to lower cholesterol. Statins usually circulate through the body, but they don’t always reach high enough levels where they are needed to prevent fatty deposits building up. These drugs also have certain limitations by affecting other tissues and muscles, making some patients intolerant. Scientists are now exploring the use of nanomaterial-based technology to deliver cholesterol-lowering drugs exactly to where they are needed most. These incredibly small but nano-based stable molecules can carry drugs through the body to specific sites where they are biodegradable once the payload of drugs has been delivered. Researchers at the University hope to develop these materials, test them, and verify whether they’re safe for patients. If successful, the new therapy based on nanomaterials will help in lowering cholesterol in those people with high level of cholesterol who cannot tolerate current treatment such as statins.
– Arpitha Shetty,