Italy leads EU project to repair hearts with light

Lion-Hearted plan, coordinated by IIT, funded by EU

(ANSA) - Rome, May 31 - A European project led by Italy is vying to develop new light-sensitive technology to repair heart damage caused by cardiovascular conditions.
    The project Light and Organic Nanotechnology for Cardiovascular Disease - called Lion-Hearted - is coordinated by the Italian Technology Institute (IIT) and funded by the European Commission for the next four years to the tune of about three million euros.
    Lion-Hearted is funded through the program FET - Future and Emerging Technologies.
    The consortium in charge of research includes eight partners from all over Europe, such as the universities of Pavia and Bologna and clinical research centers like the Humanitas Hospital in Milan and the Charité Hospital in Berlin.
    The aim of the project is to promote interdisciplinary research to study the characteristics of cardiovascular diseases to develop innovative organic materials than can be implanted in biological tissue and can be activated through light.
    The idea is to create devices that are sensitive to light (optoceutic) and not too invasive so they can directly act on damaged tissue to restore cellular activity and the functions of the heart's tissue and blood vessels.
    "Lion-Hearted's optoceutic platform will be based on the combination of nanotechnologies that respond to light, and light and biocompatible materials so that we will be able to work on the cardiovascular system with an unprecedented resolution, which is less invasive and more selective compared to traditional methods", said Maria Rosa Antognazza, a researcher at the Milan-Based IIT and the coordinator of the Lion-Hearted project.
    "Our main objective is to restore cardiac function and vascularization, directly modulating the fate and proliferation of the main types of cardiovascular cells", she added.


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