News | June 01, 2012

Heart Damage Repaired By Reprogramming Resident Fibroblasts into Functioning Heart Cells

LoneStar Heart to advance new treatment strategy for heart repair

June 1, 2012LoneStar Heart Inc. announced the advancement of a new therapeutic strategy aimed at genetic reprogramming of cardiac fibroblasts into functioning heart muscle cells to treat damage following a heart attack and other forms of heart disease. The announcement follows a study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern), published in the online May 13 issue of the journal Nature, demonstrating feasibility of the approach. The company has acquired exclusive worldwide rights to the new technology.

The adult human heart has almost no regenerative capacity. Instead of rebuilding muscle tissue after a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, the injured human heart forms fibrous, non-contractile scar tissue lacking muscle or blood vessels. Fibroblasts account for a majority of cells in the heart and are activated following injury to form this fibrotic scar tissue. Fibrosis impedes regeneration of cardiac muscle cells, and contributes to loss of contractile function, ultimately leading to heart failure and death. Therapeutic strategies to promote new muscle formation, while limiting fibrosis, represent an attractive approach for heart repair.

As reported in Nature, Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., and colleagues from UT Southwestern show that four gene-regulatory proteins — GATA4, HAND2, MEF2C, and TBX5 (GHMT) — can convert cardiac fibroblasts into beating cardiac-like muscle cells. Introduction of these proteins into proliferating fibroblasts in mice reprograms them into functional cardiac-like myocytes, improving cardiac function and reducing fibrosis and adverse remodeling of the heart following myocardial infarction. Using cell lineage-tracing techniques, the investigators conclude that newly formed cardiac-like muscle cells in GHMT-treated hearts arose from pre-existing cardiac fibroblasts. Cardiac imaging studies confirmed the new technique promoted a dramatic increase in cardiac function that was sustained for at least three months following myocardial infarction.

"These studies establish proof-of-concept for in vivo cellular reprogramming as a new approach for heart repair," said Olson, professor and chair of molecular biology at UT Southwestern, and a co-founder of LoneStar Heart. "However, much work remains to be done to determine if this strategy might eventually be effective in humans. We are working hard toward that goal."

The new reprogramming strategy may provide a novel means of improving cardiac function following injury, bypassing many of the obstacles associated with cellular transplantation. Prior work by Olson's group and others has shown that GHMT proteins fulfill similar roles in cardiac gene regulation in a wide range of organisms, including humans, highlighting the potential of these proteins to augment function of the injured human heart. While cellular replacement strategies via the introduction of stem cells or other cell types into injured hearts have shown promise, there have been numerous technical and biological hurdles associated with such approaches.

For more information: www.lonestarheartinc.com

Related Content

Edwards Lifesciences Recalls Swan-Ganz hemodynamic catheters.
Feature | Cath Lab | February 06, 2019
Edwards Lifesciences is recalling its 131F7, 131F7J, 131F7P, 131VF7P, 151F7 Swan-Ganz Thermodilution Catheters manufa
Scientists Discover New Heart Attack Repair Pathway

A macrophage immune cell, with a dead cell (pink) that has been eaten, and a mitochondrion (green) between the dead cell and the nucleus. The study’s findings indicate that what the macrophage eats is taken up by the mitochondrion, which in turn communicates with the nucleus to activate the macrophage to promote tissue repair. Image courtesy of Northwestern Medicine.

News | Cath Lab | January 30, 2019
Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a novel signaling pathway that promotes healing after a heart attack....
Shockwave Initiates U.S. Pivotal Study for Coronary Intravascular Lithotripsy
News | Cath Lab | January 16, 2019
Shockwave Medical Inc. has initiated its U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Investigational Device Exemption (IDE...
National Academy of Engineering, Ohio University Award 2019 Russ Prize
News | Cath Lab | January 03, 2019
Ohio University and the National Academy of Engineering announced the 2019 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize will be...
Videos | Cath Lab | January 03, 2019
This is a walk through inside one of the cardiac hybrid cath labs at the...
Videos | Cath Lab | January 03, 2019
This is the newest cardiac cath lab at the ...
Study Finds Effective Treatment for Coronary Slow Flow
News | Cath Lab | December 27, 2018
Patients who arrive at the hospital with heart-attack-like symptoms have had little recourse for their chest pain if...
Shockwave Announces Collaboration With Abiomed on Physician Training
News | Cath Lab | December 14, 2018
Shockwave Medical announced a new investment and collaboration agreement with Abiomed Inc. As outlined by the agreement...
Overlay Init