Ventricular re-modelling at its most exciting!
Ventrix, Inc. announced today that its VentriGel™cardiac repair scaffold safely and effectively mitigated left ventricular remodeling and improved cardiac function in pigs after myocardial infarction, or a heart attack. The findings, made during pre-clinical studies, were published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine. Based on these and other results, Ventrix will initiate a clinical trial for VentriGel later this year.
“These results give us strong validation that VentriGel has the potential to prevent the development of congestive heart failure in patients who are recovering from heart attack,” said Adam Kinsey, Ph.D., CEO of Ventrix. “We will continue to develop VentriGel for this indication, for which there is a very acute need and large market potential.”
As medical management and surgical tools have advanced, more and more patients are surviving heart attacks. However, damage to the heart during myocardial infarction can lead to a growth of dense scar tissue which cannot contribute to the pumping function of the heart. Over time, the heart wall will thin causing heart failure. Currently, the only successful treatments for end-stage heart failure are heart transplantation or left ventricular assist devices.
In the study, the VentriGel scaffold was injected into pigs two weeks following heart attack via a minimally-invasive catheter. Three months after injection, more cardiac muscle and less scar tissue was found in the VentriGel-treated group compared to controls that did not receive VentriGel. This led to significant improvements in contractility and cardiac function and prevented heart failure in treated animals. Ejection fraction, one measure of cardiac function, was significantly greater after delivery of VentriGel.
VentriGel is a biomaterial scaffold designed specifically for the repair of damaged myocardium (heart muscle). It is injected via catheter in a minimally-invasive procedure that does not require surgery or general anesthesia.
Sounds a bit peculiar, interested read on…
Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s and the Lillehei Heart Institute have utilised molecular genetic engineering to optimise heart performance in models of diastolic heart failure by creating an optimized protein that can aid in high-speed relaxation similar to fast twitching muscles.
Within heart cells, calcium plays a major role in helping normal heart pump function. However, in diastolic failure the calcium signaling process is slowed; calcium levels rise to the peak needed for the squeezing action of the heart but don’t then drop quickly enough for an efficient relaxation period – the condition known as diastolic heart failure. University researchers were able to pinpoint a specific protein, parvalbumin – which aids in high-speed relaxation of fast twitching muscles in nature – and optimize it to become a calcium sponge for heart muscle. As a result, the optimized protein, ParvE101Q, soaks up excess calcium at a precise instant, allowing the heart to relax efficiently after contraction. Still with us…
The advance offers a solid conceptual step forward in solving the puzzle of diastolic heart failure. The next step will be determining the best possible delivery mechanism for the protein, which should allow the discovery to be used in clinics.
“In nature, there are unique organisms known to be able to contract and relax muscles quickly,” said Joseph M. Metzger, Ph.D, a University of Minnesota Medical School professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology. “We hoped research and discovery could help identify what was promoting this highly efficient activity so we could harness it for use in the heart. We’ve discovered that our optimised variation of parvalbumin can fulfill that role by treating diastolic heart failure.”
If they can develop an ideal delivery system for the optimized protein, the researchers believe they may have found a unique clinical application to treat diastolic heart failure.
I suppose we will all have to wait and see. We apologise for the level detail we sometimes go into but it generally cannot be described in any other way.
A 10,000 volt 3D electric sprayer, which fires out a stream of heart cells. It can create thin sheets of beating cells that researchers hope they can use to patch-up pieces of damaged heart.As more people survive Heart attacks then it means more are living with a damaged heart. When heart muscle cells dies it is replaced by scarring, just as it does after you cut your leg. But scar tissue does not beat, so it can leave the heart struggling to pump blood. In some cases it can make even the simplest of tasks as exhausting as running a marathon.The British Heart Foundation researchers are trying to develop the patches. The thin sheets of heart cells could be layered onto the heart to help it beat or maybe even sprayed directly onto scar tissue inside the heart.
Dr Suwan Jayasinghe a medical engineer has assembled the pieces of the bio-electric sprayer. First a syringe is filled with heart cells. In the future it is thought these cells could be taken from a patient’s heart and grown or a patient’s stem cells could be converted into heart cells. These are then passed through a needle. However, unlike a graffiti artist’s spray can, this is not enough to get the thin accurate spray of cells needed to build the heart tissue.
Instead 10,000 volts going through the needle create an electric field to control the cells. “You get the formation of a fine jet which then breaks up into a myriad of droplets and those droplets are what form the sheet,” said Dr Jayasinghe. “The beautiful thing is that we can add various other cell types into this cell suspension and create three dimensional cardiac tissues that are fully functional.” Under a microscope it is then possible to see the cells beating in the patch. The next test is to see if the patches can actually help a damaged heart to beat, by testing them in animals”
Researcher Dr Anastasis Stephanou said: “Hopefully we can show that these engineered cardiac sheets improve the function of a damaged heart.”
“A heart is made up of different cell types, so we would be able to design the technology where we would be able to place the right number of cell types to develop the actual cardiac tissue.” “So we feel the technology we have is quite superior in terms of the other cardiac tissue engineering technologies that are available.”
Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation which funds the research, said: “Creating heart muscle is a huge challenge and involves a mix of different cells and blood vessels that need to line-up perfectly with one another.
“This groundbreaking research is trying to find a way to build ‘pieces of the heart’ outside the body. We hope that one day these pieces can be grafted onto damaged hearts to help them pump more strongly.”
CoQ10 and your Heart
We are having a lot of questions asked at the moment surrounding Q10 so we thought it would be a good idea to put more information on the website so that people could reference it against the other pieces of information we have on what seems to be an ever popular topic for discussion. It has always been a popular topic with us so we are pleased it is being referenced more by patients.Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone / Ubiquinol which is synthesised from Ubiquinone and is highly absorbent and more potent than Ubiquinone) is a mitochondrial coenzyme that is essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s form of chemical energy. The human body has approximately 100 trillion cells, and each one must produce its own energy to carry out its biological functions. The cells produce this energy by burning (oxidizing) carbohydrates, fats and proteins. This controlled burning or oxidation process (catabolic reactions) occurs as a result of oxygen combining with foodstuffs to produce energy, carbon dioxide and water. More than 95 percent of the oxygen we inhale is used solely for the purpose of making energy through this process. The result of these chemical reactions is converted into chemical energy in the form of ATP molecules. These ATP molecules supply the energy needed for the various cellular chemical and biological reactions necessary for life to occur (termed: bioenergetics). ATP is the fuel used to provide cellular energy, making life possible.CoQ10 was discovered by Frederick L. Crane, Ph.D., in the late 1950s, during his research on the biochemistry of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. The substance was sent to Karl Folkers, Ph.D., for identification and identity of its structure. It was designated “coenzyme Q10″ because of its quinone structure and the 10 isoprene unit side chain. During this time, another group of scientists led by R. A. Morton, Ph.D., isolated the same substance from mitochondria and designated it ubiquinone (from ubiquitous, meaning everywhere) because of its widespread occurrence in nature. The role of CoQ10 in the electron transport chain was first described by Peter Mitchell, Ph.D., who was awarded the Nobel Prize for that work.
So how does this fit into a heart failure patients profile?
Cells that require the most energy contain a higher number of mitochondria. The more work required, the more energy needed. The cells of the brain, the skeletal muscle, the heart and the eye contain the highest number of mitochondria (as many as 10,000 per cell), while the skin cells, which do not require much energy, contain only a few hundred mitochondria. Cardiac cells are muscle cells whose function is to contract repeatedly, pumping blood continuously around the body. This means these cells need a large and continuous supply of energy to in order to function efficiently, so no surprise they have a large number of mitochondria within them. CoQ10 (being at the center of the creation of cellular energy) assumes significant importance in cells with high energy requirements, such as the cardiac cells.
Much of the research in support of CoQ10 supplementation has been focused on CHF. These patients’ hearts have been shown to have increased oxidative stress, as well as decreased concentrations of CoQ10.1,2 We already know heart muscle cells have a remarkably high-energy requirement. Consistent correlation between the level of CoQ10 and the severity of CHF appears to be a well-documented. Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to decreased heart muscle function (poor myocardial function).3,4 The more severe the heart failure, the more the deficient the CoQ10 level is. Recently, it has been found that CoQ10 levels can be used as a predictor of mortality in CHF.
CoQ10 has a potential role for the prevention and treatment of heart ailments by improving cellular bioenergetics. Supplementation can help correct energy depletion and oxidative stress, which are inherent in these cardiac conditions; this can result in helping to restore the energy and efficiency of the heart. Significant improvement has been observed in exercise tolerance in patients given adjunctive CoQ10.7
Supplementation has been shown to cause sustained clinical improvement in the heart muscle contraction (improved ejection fraction, heart wall motion and heart size), and progress in improving other related symptoms (fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, exercise ability and palpitations).8 Some studies have showed significant development with NYHA class improving from a mean of IV to a mean of II.9 CoQ10 supplementation can also protect against ischemia and reperfusion injury.10 The improvement in some patients can be rather significant, with the heart size and heart function returning to near normal.
As we all know every patient is different and CoQ10 supplementation should be used as a parallel therapy, supporting traditional medical treatment and not in place of it. As with all supplements it is vital that you speak to your doctor or nurse before starting on a self prescribed course. CoQ10 reacts with warfarin therefore may affect your INR levels.
Seaweed Juice may save Heart Attack patients?
An Australian grandmother had a liquid derived from seaweed injected into her heart, in a world-first procedure poised to dramatically boost heart attack survival rates. Pauline Fulton underwent the treatment in a Melbourne hospital two weeks ago, two days after she suffered a major heart attack. Dr. William van Gaal, a cardiologist who performed the procedure, said it could revolutionize treatment for heart attack patients and save lives.
But it was hoped the liquid, bio-absorbable cardiac matrix, would prevent the heart enlarging, and heart failure developing.
In the 30-minute procedure, van Gaal injected 0.13 fluid ounces of the “liquid device” into the blocked artery, which was absorbed by the damaged heart muscle.
It then formed a gel that acted as a scaffold to support the heart muscle as it recovered and prevented the organ becoming bigger, he said. After six weeks, the liquid device, which had no side-effects, would dissolve and be excreted from the body through the kidneys.
Standard treatment was to give patients tablets to prevent their heart enlarging, but they were not always effective, van Gaal said.
Fulton, 64, became the first of 300 patients who will have the experimental treatment in a worldwide study.
It could be routine treatment within three years, van Gaal said.
Broken heart syndrome (BHS) which is also known as stress cardiomyopathy is not only real but it’s also potentially deadly. BHS mimics symptoms of an acute heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, a sense of impending doom, and heart failure. According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, overwhelming stress can cause the body to release large amounts of stress hormones (such as adrenaline and norepinephrine) into the bloodstream, which can damage the heart muscle.
BHS is most common among postmenopausal women who experience the death of a partner or loved one, yet a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the disorder also occurs in younger women and men. Physical stressors including surgery, respiratory conditions like COPD and asthma, and medications like chemotherapy have also been known to trigger BHS.
Heart Facts – did you know?
Heart muscle shrinks by an average 0.3?g per year from middle age, affecting its ability to pump blood through your body. Using MRI scans of men and women aged 45 to 85, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. found that with every year it takes longer for the heart muscles to squeeze and relax, by around 2 to 5?%, while the actual amount of blood pumped out of the heart falls by 9 millilitres a year.
This can cause blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure can cause the heart muscles to thicken as they struggle to pump against increasing resistance. ‘A heart enlarged through hypertension will have a poor blood supply and may become fibrotic and prone to failure,’ says Graham Jackson, consultant cardiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF: Like all muscles, the heart becomes stronger and less likely to shrink if it is exercised. ‘Dynamic or aerobic activities that benefit the heart include walking, climbing stairs, gardening, vigorous housework, dancing or using home or gym exercise equipment,’ says Mr Jackson.‘You don’t have to be an athelete just a good 40-minute walk five times a week is enough to make a difference.’
Nick receives an Award
Nick Hartshorne-Evans the founder and now Trustee of Pumping Marvellous won the “Health Champion of Burnley” award last night with 200 people at a packed Mechanics Theatre in Burnley on the 16th June 2011. The event was hosted by Tony Livesey the BBC radio and TV presenter.
This is what was said by the organiser. The award was sponsored by Aircelle of Burnley, Burnleys largest employer and manufacturers of Aerospace Nacelle’s. A true world leader.
“Nick was admitted to hospital with an infection of his heart muscle resulting in Heart Failure in January 2010 at the age of 39. Nick has worked hard to recover and accessed Burnley Councils Healthy Lifestyles team for support. Nick’s passion to help people in a similair situation to himself led him to set up “Pumping Marvellous”; a dedicated heart failure patient and carer website which is so unique it has attracted attracte attention across the country. Nick campaigns tirelessly in aid of heart failure patients and their carers and is also currenlty helping to raise funds for the new 3D echo scanner at the Royal Blackburn Hospital called the “Heart of Blackburn” appeal”
A sticking plaster to heal damaged hearts has been created by scientists. Packed full of healthy heart cells, it could be used to shore up areas damaged by heart attacks, cutting the odds of further ill health.
To create the inch-long patch – which is as thin as a human hair and resembles a black sticking plaster – the U.S. researchers first built a scaffold of extra-thin carbon fibres.
In experiments in a dish, healthy heart muscle, nerve and other cells ‘crawled’ on to the framework, repairing damage to the heart. In other words, it was able to bring regions of the heart left ‘dead’ by heart attack back to life, the journal Acta Biomaterialia reports.
David Stout, the study’s lead author, said: ‘This whole idea is to put something where dead tissue is to help regenerate it, so that eventually you have a healthy heart.’
Other materials were not as successful. The researchers believe the carbon fibres worked because they conduct electricity well. The first animal tests will take place this year but it is likely to be ten to 15 years before the plasters are routinely used to patch human hearts. Researcher Thomas Webster of Brown University, Rhode Islamd said ‘When someone has a heart attack, part of the heart dies. The heart compensates for that, placing it under more strain. ‘What we wanted to do was develop a material that could be inserted wherever the damage is, maybe through a catheter or small tube, so that new, healthy tissue can grow on top of it.’
While it would be best to insert the device soon after a heart attack, it may still help if it is put in up to several years later, Dr Webster added.
The approach is one of several being explored around the world.
The charity is pursuing the idea of heart patches as well as pills to trick the organ into healing itself, and injections of stem cells. Launching the appeal earlier this year, Professor Peter Weissberg, the BHF’s medical director, said: ‘The biggest issue that still eludes us is how to help people once their heart has been damaged by a heart attack.
‘Scientifically, mending human hearts is an achievable goal and we really could make recovering from a heart attack as simple as getting over a broken leg.’