When areas of a heart are deprived of oxygen—say, in a heart attack—muscle and nerve cells are damaged. The tissue can't regenerate on its own. But this carbon nanotube patch could help.
The patch itself is made of tiny carbon atoms which form a tube, conducting electricity and imitating natural tissue surface. The more nanotubes the research team added to the patch, the more cells around it would regenerate. It's the work of Brown University associate professor Thomas Webster, who discovered that by conducting electricity, the patch can heal three types of damaged cells: the muscle cells that beat, the nerve cells that help them contract and endothelial cells lining the blood vessels around the heart. Now it is literally possible to patch up a broken heart. [MIT Technology Review]