Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Safe Way to Fix a Heart

Article Written By: Mehak Bhansali


Karen Christman, one of the inventors of VentriGel and the CEO of Ventrix, is a Department of Bioengineering professor at UC San Diego.

From UC San Diego, a spin-off company known as Ventrix has accomplished a phase 1 clinical trial to test if a hydrogel - referred to as VentriGel - can safely heal cardiac tissue and thus allow the heart to function normally again in patients who have recently undergone a heart attack. 

Heart attacks can take a large toll on cardiac tissue, leading to scarring. Scarred tissue greatly impairs cardiac function due to damaged cardiac muscle. The idea centered around VentriGel is for it to serve as a scaffold that can bring new cells over to the damaged sites of the heart and essentially fix the cardiac muscle, thereby restoring heart function. 

The production of this hydrogel is relatively straightforward. Cardiac cells are eliminated from pig cardiac connective tissue and the tissue is then freeze-dried, turned into a powder and finally into a liquid. Via an injection, the liquid enters heart muscle where physiological temperature turns the liquid into a porous gel. 

The clinical trials are FDA approved and they explored the effects of this hydrogel in 15 patients who had heart attacks that specifically left their left ventricular chamber fairly damaged. Before injecting VentriGel a maximum of 18 times, the patients had a walking test and several other cardiac assessments. These assessments were repeated after three and six months and MRIs were conducted three and six months post procedure. 

After the injection of VentriGel, patients were observed to increase their walking distance and had overall better heart health. Ventrix is hoping to move forward with phase 2 trials in which a more generalized cohort will be used to comprehend the potential hydrogel has on improving the lives of people suffering from heart attacks. 

Read more at:

Image Credit:
David Baillot/University of California San Diego

No comments:
Write comments