Cardiovascular and circulatory system diseases such as myocardial infarction are the number one cause of death in the world. Their treatment is one of the main challenges for the scientific community, because the most common procedures, like a device implantation or a cardiac resynchronisation, do not avoid the risk of death or re-admission. That is why heart transplantation becomes the only real curative alternative.
In this context, the European project CARDIOPATCH, composed by partners from Spain, France and Portugal, has developed an innovative therapy consisting of a stem cell patch for non-invasive repair of heart tissue damaged by myocardial infarction.
The solution, based on cellular regenerative medicine and 3D printing technologies, was presented in Pamplona this Tuesday, 18th of April, after three years of research.
“Our patch has shown therapeutic potential in early ‘in vivo’ tests. In addition, we have designed a novel 3D device for its cultivation and transport and a tool that allows its minimally invasive implantation in the patient”, explained the Dr. Felipe Prósper, coordinator of the project and director of the Cell Therapy Area of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra, one of the 9 partners of the initiative.
Increasing therapeutic potential
To this purpose, the entities involved in CARDIOPATCH have carried out processes aimed at increasing the therapeutic potential of the stem cells in the patch, have successfully generated a collagen membrane with cardioprotective factors, and have developed and evaluated different technologies and protocols to produce therapeutic products for cardiac regenerative medicine.
At the same time, it has been designed and validated a 3D bioreactor to grow and transport the patch, as well as a rollable device for minimally invasive implantation in the heart.
The efficacy of CARDIOPATCH therapy model has been proven with favorable results in preclinical experiments in rodents. In order to analyse the behavior and effectiveness of the solution, further tests are expected to be conducted in the next months.
"The results have been positive and show the possibilities that regenerative medicine opens up for finding effective treatments for this type of heart disease. Therefore, it is essential to continue investing and promoting research in these areas to find a definitive solution," concluded the Dr. Prósper.
The CARDIOPATCH project, co-financed by the European Union's Interreg Sudoe Programme through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), has been led by the Clínica Universidad de Navarra and has also involved a consortium made up of Cima Universidad de Navarra (through the Foundation for Applied Medical Research), the foundation Institut de Recerca de l’Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, the technology centre LEARTIKER, the communication agency GUK, the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse, the Université de Montpellier (UM) - Institut des biomolécules Max Mousseron (IBMM), the company GenIbet Biopharmaceuticals and the Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica.
The initiative has also been supported by other entities as associated partners such as Viscofan, Sodena and the Euroregion Nouvelle-Aquitaine, Euskadi, Navarra (NAEN), among others.