Ventrix, a spin-off company of the University of California San Diego, has developed a special hydrogel that can be injected into the heart to provide a platform for cardiac repair following a heart attack. The technology was just tested in humans for the first time as part of an FDA-approved Phase 1 clinical trial. Though limited in size, the study pointed to the safety of the hydrogel and there are definite signs that it helps to improve cardiac function.
The hydrogel is produced from the extracellular matrix of pig hearts in a special procedure that decellularizes heart tissue while keeping its structural components.
VentriGel, the commercial name of this product, was injected into the diseased areas of the heart in heart failure patients who have previously suffered a cardiac infarct. About half of the patients experienced a heart attack within a year before the injection, while the other half had them a year to three years prior. Interestingly, while all the patients showed an improvement in the 6-minute walk test and decreases in the New York Heart Association heart failure class, “improvements in left ventricular remodeling were mainly observed in patients who were treated more than 1 year post–myocardial infarction as opposed to less than 1 year,” according to the study abstract appearing in journal JACC: Basic to Translational Science.
Here’s one of the researchers explaining how the material is produced and used:
Study in journal JACC: Basic to Translational Science: First-in-Man Study of a Cardiac Extracellular Matrix Hydrogel in Early and Late Myocardial Infarction Patients
Via: UC San Diego