LOS ANGELES (Dispatches) -- Scientists successfully conducted a first-in-human, FDA-approved Phase 1 clinical trial of an injectable hydrogel that aims to repair damage and restore cardiac function in heart failure patients who previously suffered a heart attack. The trial is the first to test a hydrogel designed to repair cardiac tissue, according to University of California. The trial is the first to test a hydrogel designed to repair cardiac tissue. It is also the first to test a hydrogel made from the natural scaffolding of cardiac muscle tissue, also known as extracellular matrix, or ECM. This is significant because ECM hydrogels have been shown in preclinical studies to potentially be effective for other conditions, such as poor blood circulation due to peripheral artery disease. The trial showed that the hydrogel, known as VentriGel, can be safely injected via catheter into patients who had suffered a heart attack in the past 2 to 36 months. After a heart attack, scar tissue develops, which diminishes muscle function and leads to heart failure. This is where VentriGel comes in. Once injected in damaged cardiac muscle, VentriGel forms a scaffold that acts as a reparative environment where healthy cells migrate, leading to increases in cardiac muscle, less scar tissue, and improvements in heart function. VentriGel was invented by Karen Christman a professor of bioengineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering and the Institute of Engineering in Medicine at UC San Diego. and her team then licensed from UC San Diego and developed by Ventrix, Inc, which was cofounded by CEO Adam Kinsey and Christman.