A heart attack usually occurs when one or more coronary arteries becomes blocked, which interrupts blood flow to the heart. Without blood flow, the tissue loses oxygen and dies. Heart attacks are the cause over 8,000 deaths and more than 50,000 hospitalisations each year in Australia alone .
MSCs from various sources have been shown to improve cardiac function after injury and are already being tested in clinical trials.
Cynata collaborated with the University of Sydney to test the potential therapeutic efficacy of Cymerus™ MSCs in animal models of myocardial infarction and associated heart rhythm abnormalities. The studies were performed under the leadership of Dr James Chong, a cardiologist at Westmead Hospital and Senior Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Sydney, who is also Research Group Leader at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research.
In the study, a heart attack was induced in rats, which received treatment four days later, and were then assessed over a 28-day period. The rats (15 per group) were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups (Cymerus MSCs; BM-MSCs; or placebo), and all assessments were performed in a blinded manner.
The study produced positive efficacy data that showed Cymerus MSCs improved recovery of cardiac function post heart attack compared to either placebo or bone marrow-derived MSCs.
The primary endpoint of the study was fractional shortening at Day 28. Fractional shortening provides an estimate of the ability of the heart to contract effectively and is strongly indicative of overall cardiac function: an improvement in fractional shortening is indicative of recovery of the pumping function of the heart after a heart attack.
Cymerus MSC treatment also reduced left ventricular end-systolic diameter (LVESD) compared to either placebo or BM-MSCs. LVESD reduction is associated with lower risk of further cardiac events.