Device Delivers Drugs, Proteins, and Stem Cells Directly to a Diseased Heart
Orange County, CA - June 15th, 2018 - After a patient has a Heart attack, many events happen that lead to heart failure. For example, when a coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked it stops the flow of blood to the heart muscle, causing damage and scarring. Once the tissue scars, the heart will remodel to compensate, which often ends in ventricular or valve failure.
Presently, the Medication meant to aid the heart after a heart attack is injected directly into the bloodstream. When this happens, it ends up affecting the whole body. With it going directly into a patient’s bloodstream, means doctors have to administer the medication in small doses to minimize the impact. Repeat and direct injections can have many other complications as well.
An international team of researchers led by Harvard University have demonstrated a new, implantable device called Therepi. This device can be implanted in a single procedure and deliver the medication on a continual basis to treat the after-effects of a heart attack. This could improve the efficiency of requiring lower doses, drugs, and diminish the negative side effects of therapy that is currently delivered systematically.
“After a heart attack, we could use this device to deliver therapy to prevent a patient from getting heart failure. If the patient already has some degree of heart failure, we can use the device to attenuate the progression” explains Ellen Roche, co-first author of the study and assistant professor at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science.
The Therepi device is connected to the cardiac tissue which has a membrane that allows the release of the required medication; on the other side, there is an injection port penetrating the skin at the abdomen. A syringe is simply pushed into the port and the medication is injected. This process is so simple it can be done by the patient when at home.
The device was shown to be effective in repairing cardiac function after a heart attack in a rat test subject. Researchers gave multiple doses of cells to a damaged heart during a four week period. The researchers are certain that the results can drastically be improved once the device optimized, the dosages are figured out, and its usage is perfected.
“Practically, this platform will allow us to conduct tightly controlled studies to find optimal dosing and timing regimens for regenerative cardiac therapies. Until now, these studies have been challenging due to the invasiveness of multiple procedures. This type of device could be applied to treatment options for multiple disease states including other types of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer “ said Roche.
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