Project type: European Project (Framework Programmes)
Project duration: 2010 - 2015
Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) is the biggest single cause of death in Europe and in the developed world. Angioplasty and stents are successful in re-establishing perfusion of ischemic myocardium and have helped to reduce early mortality after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However damaged tissue is not recovered and, therefore, this is always followed by cardiac remodelling and Chronic Heart Failure (CHF). CHF is a terminal disease with an annual mortality rate of ~18% with no cure besides heart transplantation, only available to a minority of patients. Autologous cell therapy has been proposed as a solution and clinically tested but has proven marginally effective at best. Its cost and the complexity of clinical procedures make it unsuitable for treating the large number of patients that need affordable and readily available products to treat the acute phase of the disease. Moreover, most of these approaches are predicated on the outmoded concept that the adult human myocardium lacks regenerative capacity. Recent findings show that adult myocardium harbours a population of resident pluripotent cells with the characteristics of true cardiac stem cells (CSC) able to regenerate contractile myocardium. This opens novel therapeutic avenues capable of producing real anatomical and functional regeneration. The CARE-MI proposal addresses the clinical implementation of this recent paradigmatic change. We will clinically test and further develop myocardial regenerative therapies based on the in situ activation, multiplication and differentiation of the endogenous CSCs with the aim to provide therapies that are: a)Affordable, in terms of the production costs of the medicinal product b)Readily and widely available, implying that the product may be easily stored and readied for application at all times at minimum cost. c)Easy to apply and compatible with current clinical standard of care for AMI, including the widespread use of PTCA interventions.