Scientists at the MDI Biological Laboratory and Novo Biosciences (both ME, USA) have identified a drug candidate to restore heart muscle function following a heart attack. Their research on the role of MSI-1436 in regenerating heart muscle tissue in zebrafish and mice was described in a paper in the peer-reviewed journal, npj Regenerative Medicine.
Cardiovascular disease is the world’s leading killer, taking the lives of 17.5 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization, and disabling millions more. Currently, no drug exists to restore heart muscle function after a heart attack.
“The potential impact of MSI-1436 is enormous,” MDI Biological Laboratory scientist Viravuth P. Yin, one of the paper’s authors, said. “If it shows similar results in humans, it will be a game-changer for patients who suffer a heart attack and/or are living with heart disease.”
The institution is seeking to move the drug into human clinical trials through a spinoff company, Novo Biosciences. The next step is to test the drug in pigs, the animal whose heart most closely resembles that of humans.
The drug has two advantages that are expected to smooth the path to the clinic. First, MSI-1436 stimulates tissue regeneration in zebrafish and mice, which are separated by approximately 450 million years of evolution. This increases the likelihood it will work in humans too. Second, it has already been shown to be well tolerated by patients in Phase I and Ib clinical trials for an unrelated indication. The maximum well-tolerated human dose is 5 to 50 times higher than the dose shown to be effective in stimulating heart repair in zebrafish and mice.