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Cyborg heart plan short-listed for major funding

Thursday January 23rd, 2020

A cyborg heart is in the running for a major funding award aimed at supporting radical advances in treatment, it was announced today.

Dutch researchers have set out their proposals for a "soft robotic heart", which has been short-listed for a £30 million funding award by the British Heart Foundation.

The Foundation today announced its shortlist of four projects for the "Big Beat" award.

The Dutch team, led by Professor Jolanda Kluin, describe their project as a hybrid heart. It would have a soft robotic shell with soft artificial muscles and sensors to enable natural motion. Its lining would be tissue-engineered and would use wireless energy transfer.

The researchers say they want a device that could replace human heart transplants and "give hope to those around the world who are desperately waiting for a donated organ."

Professor Kluin is the professor of translational cardiothoracic surgery at the University of Amsterdam.

A second short-listed project, proposed by Professor Ziad Mallat at Cambridge University, would seek to build 3D maps of atherosclerosis, enabling new understanding of the relationship of the disease to the immune system.

A project proposed by University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium, would seek to develop wearable technology capturing a huge range of data from heart function to air quality.

Oxford University also has a short-listed project. Professor Hugh Watkins wants support to develop treatments to target the faulty genes responsible for cardiomyopathies.

All the short-listed projects are receiving seed funding to develop their ideas further over the next six months. They were selected from 75 applications from 40 countries.

The Foundation says the project is the biggest single investment in its history.

One of the selection panel, Dame Anne Glover, president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said: “All four shortlisted applications have identified big problems that desperately need to be addressed.

"They’ve submitted ideas that are different to anything the BHF has funded before, and the raw ambition, boldness and creativity of all teams is inspirational."

Tags: Europe | Heart Health | UK News

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