News | Stem Cell Therapies | November 13, 2015

Protein Reprogramming Offers Potentially Rich Source of Cardiac Repair Heart Cells

New method could provide safer option for regenerative therapy after a heart attack

protein reprogramming, Stem Cells Translational Medicine, cardiac progenitor cells, CPCs, regenerative therapies

November 13, 2015 — A new study appearing in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM) describes a highly efficient, protein-based method for turning fibroblasts — the most common cells in connective tissue — into cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs). The results could lead to a much-needed new source of cells for regenerating the heart. Equally exciting is that the technology also converts the fibroblasts directly to CPCs, skipping an in-between and significantly speeding up the process.

Stem cell transplantation has shown great promise in helping repair a damaged heart, but finding the best source of these cells in quantities large enough for clinical application has been a challenge.  Some success in coaxing induced pluipoent stem cells (iPSCs) to become cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) has been accomplished using genetics, but safety issues stemming from the integration of foreign genes into the host and from the use of viral vectors are a concern.

Proteins can briefly modulate the gene expression of the host cells, leading to complete transformation of the parental phenotype using a method that is virus-free and does not introduce any foreign genetic material into the recipient’s system. While researchers have had some success in using proteins to reprogram cells, the number of cells that turned into the intended cell types remains low.

In the SCTM study, a team of scientists from Guangdong General Hospital, Guangzhou Medical University (GMU), Guangdong, China, and Wayne State University (WSU), Detroit, Michigan, reported they overcame this problem by using a simple, non-viral based protein delivery system consisting of four modified transcription factors (GHMT) and three growth factors. When fibroblasts from human skin were reprogrammed to become CPCs, the yield of CPCs was 80 percent. When these cells were then transplanted into rat hearts after a heart attack, cardiac function showed improvement.
Xi-Yong Yu, M.D., Ph.D., of GMU’s Guangdong Cardiovascular Institute, is co-lead investigator of the study. “The resulting CPCs were similar to cardiac progenitors in appearance, colony formation, activation of cardiac marker genes and cardiac lineage differentiation potential,” he said. “We believe this protein reprogramming strategy lays the foundation for future refinements and might provide a source of CPCs for regenerative approaches.”
Co-lead investigator Jianjun Wang, Ph.D., of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department in WSU’s Medical School, added that using undifferentiated CPCs as the building blocks to grow specific types of heart tissue is of great interest for regenerating the myocardium. “However,” he cautioned, “it will be critical to determine whether key physiological properties are faithfully reproduced after reprogramming. Further study is also needed to investigate the characteristics of in vivo differentiated cardiomyocytes and vasculatures [blood vessels] from protein-induced CPCs in their native environment, which might promote survival, maturation and coupling with neighboring cells.”
Yigang Wang, M.D., Ph.D., director of regenerative medicine at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, is another noted researcher focused on the technology involved in producing CPCs with high efficiency. He commented on the Yu-Wang team’s findings, saying that he “hopes that it will lead to a new source of abundant seed cells for cardiac tissue engineering in a clinical setting.”
“While additional research is needed to fully understand the properties of these cells, the results suggest a potentially safer method to generate cardiac progenitor cells for use as a regenerative therapy after a heart attack,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., editor-in-chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

For more information:

Related Content

New FDA Proposed Rule Alters Informed Consent for Clinical Studies
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | November 19, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to add an exception to informed consent requirements for...
A key slide from Elnabawi's presentation, showing cardiac CT plaque evaluations, showing the impact of psoriasis medication on coronary plaques at baseline and one year of treatment. It shows a reversal of vulnerable plaque development. #SCAI, #SCAI2018

A key slide from Elnabawi's presentation, showing cardiac CT plaque evaluations, showing the impact of psoriasis medication on coronary plaques at baseline and one year of treatment. It shows a reversal of vulnerable plaque development.  

Feature | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | May 14, 2018
May 14, 2018 – New clinical evidance shows common therapy options for psoriasis (PSO), a chronic inflammatory skin di
Intravenous Drug Use is Causing Rise in Heart Valve Infections, Healthcare Costs. #SCAI, #SCAI2018
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | May 14, 2018
May 14, 2018 — The opioid drug epidemic is impacting cardiology, with a new study finding the number of patients hosp
Patient Enrollment Completed in U.S. IDE Study of THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH SF Catheter
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | March 15, 2018
March 15, 2018 –  Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies announced today that Biosense Webster, Inc., who wo
Lexington Begins HeartSentry Clinical Trial
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | February 20, 2018
February 20, 2018 – Lexington Biosciences, Inc., a development-stage medical device company, announced the commenceme
Endologix Completes Patient Enrollment in the ELEVATE IDE Clinical Study
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | February 06, 2018
February 6, 2018 – Endologix, a developer and marketer of treatments for aortic disorders, announced the completion o
12-Month Results from Veryan Medical's MIMICS-2 IDE Study Presented at LINC
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 – Thomas Zeller (Bad Krozingen, Germany) presented the 12-month results from Veryan Medical’s MIMICS
LimFlow Completes U.S. Feasibility Study Enrollment, Receives FDA Device Status
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | February 01, 2018
February 1, 2018 –  LimFlow SA, developer of minimally-inv
ESC 2017 late breaking trial hot line study presentations.
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | September 12, 2017
September 12, 2017 – The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress 2017 includes several Hot Line Late-breaking C
U.K., NHS studies, weekend effect, hospital admission, atrial fibrillation, heart failure
News | Cardiovascular Clinical Studies | June 28, 2016
New research shows patients admitted to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the United Kingdom for atrial...
Overlay Init