Stem cell and regenerative medicine company, Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP), says it has received very encouraging initial data from a proof of concept study of its Cymerus mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in an experimental rat model of myocardial infarction.
In Australia, heart attacks claimed over 8,000 lives in 2014, equating to 24 deaths per day.
The study, which is being conducted under the leadership of Associate Professor James Chong at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research, aims to determine the ability of Cymerus MSCs to repair the rat heart after a heart attack.
The preliminary phase of the study involved assessment of cardiac function and scar size over a 28 day period after a heart attack was induced in a total of 11 rats. Four animals were treated with Cymerus MSCs, three were treated with bone marrow-derived MSCs and a further four received a placebo control.
According to the company, the initial results show cardiac function was improved and scar size was reduced in the Cymerus MSC recipients at Day 28 compared to animals in both other groups.
Associate Professor Chong, who is also a cardiologist at Westmead Hospital and research group leader at the University of Sydney, said: “This was a pilot phase of the study in a small number of animals, but the initial results are promising. We now plan to continue our studies, using larger numbers of animals and additional assessments to strengthen our initial findings. We will also investigate the effect of the treatment on ventricular arrhythmia, which is a potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythm that often develops after a heart attack.”
“If these initial findings are confirmed during the remainder of the study, it would support the hypothesis that Cymerus MSCs could cause a substantial functional and structural improvement after a heart attack,” said Cynata vice president of product development, Dr Kilian Kelly. “We are delighted to be working with Associate Professor Chong on this project, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration.”