Injectable, self-assembling, nanomatrix gel for the enhancing cell retention and function in tissue for use in cell based therapy.
- Increases implanted cell retention and enhances cardiac repair after stem cell treatment.
- Mimics the extracellular matrix to encourage stem cell engraftment.
Nearly 1 million Americans have a heart attack each year. Patients who survive myocardial infarction are left with damaged heart tissue that decreases heart function below a critical threshold. Nearly half of these patients do not survive for one year. The only available treatment for end stage heart failure is a full heart transplant and the number of patients far outweighs the number of donors. Difficulties in matching patients to donors and complications from donors further decrease the viability of this treatment strategy. Alternative treatments are desperately needed.
Cardiomyocytes derived from pluripotent stem cells have been suggested as a promising system for treating diseased hearts. These cells have unquestioned cardiac repair properties and several preclinical studies have shown that these cells help preserve cardiac function in rodent models of infarction. Poor engraftment of these cells has hampered the treatment potential of these cells. Nearly half of injected cells fail to survive injection and only less than 10% of the cells survive one week with the longest lasting cells surviving no more than 12 weeks. Emory researchers, in conjunction with collaborators at UAB, have developed an injectable self-assembling nanomatrix gel that provides an extracellular matrix-like environment that promotes cell viability, differentiation, and maturation. Co-treatment with nanomatrix and stem cells increased stem cell retention which led to dramatically enhanced cardiac repair as determined by higher cardiac function and reduced infarction scar size.
Proof-of-principal experiments have been completed in mouse models of infarction.