A new heart disease treatment successfully induced and accelerated regeneration of damaged tissue in zebrafish and mice. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is awarding a patent for the drug and further trials into its efficacy are planned.
Heart disease causes approximately 17 million deaths per year. Because people are limited in their ability to regenerate tissue, damaged muscle is normally replaced with a nonfunctional scar after a heart attack. The stiffer scar tissue can interfere with heart function, possibly leading to heart failure.
Initial research in zebrafish pinpointed the role the molecule MSI-1436 plays in regenerating tissue. “Our interests in tissue regeneration led us to the zebrafish because it is a model that regenerates quite well. In studying this process in the zebrafish, we are able to develop possible cues that we are able to possibly manipulate in mammals and humans in order to reactivate those processes,” Voot P. Ying, Ph.D. an assistant professor at MDI Biological Laboratory and co-founder and chief scientific officer of Novo Biosciences, told ALN exclusively.
Furthermore, the administration of MSI-1436 to mice after a heart attack increased survival, tripled the number of heart muscle cells produced, double heart function, reduced ventricular wall thinning, and reduced scar tissue. “The zebrafish and the mouse are separated by 450 million years of evolution. The fact that this molecule works in both of these very divergent animals is indicative that it may work in humans as well,” Kevin Strange, Ph.D., president of MDI Biological Laboratory and co-founder and CEO of Novo Biosciences, continued.
Even better? Clinical trials for an unrelated disease have already shown that the molecule is well tolerated in humans. The molecule could also be used for the treatment of muscular dystrophies, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The researchers plan on testing this treatment in pigs next. If this is successful, the drug will move into clinical trials.