LSU Health New Orleans Newsroom

LSUHealthNO to Study New Drug to Regenerate Heart Muscle

heart disease

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Leslie Capo

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In collaboration with Novo Biosciences, Inc., LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence will receive more $500,000 over two years to study the effectiveness of a novel drug designed to stimulate the regeneration of heart muscle and prevent the formation or scar tissue following a heart attack. The funding is part of a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) award from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to Novo Biosciences, Inc.

The drug, MSI-1436, inhibits an enzyme that turns off the switch regulating tissue repair and regeneration processes. Earlier studies in small animal models have shown that MSI-1436 stimulates regeneration of heart, connective, nerve, skin, bone and vascular tissues. In mice, studies found it improved cell survival and heart function as well as reduced the size of the area damaged by the heart attack. This drug was also previously shown to be well tolerated by patients in Phase 1 and 1b clinical trials for obesity and type-2 diabetes.

“Following an injury such as a heart attack, damaged heart cells are replaced with stiff, nonfunctional scar tissue, which reduces heart function and can ultimately lead to heart failure and death,” notes David Lefer, PhD, Director of LSU Health New Orleans Cardiovascular Center of Excellence. “Our studies will further test this drug in a model of heart attack, the next critical step to eventual tests of the drug in heart attack patients. If successful, MSI-1436 could rapidly move into clinical trials for heart attack and heart failure.”

According to the American Heart Association, about 790,000 people in the US have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 114,000 will die. The estimated annual incidence of heart attack in the US is 580,000 new attacks and 210,000 recurrent attacks. Average age at the first heart attack is 65.3 years for males and 71.8 years for females. Approximately every 40 seconds, an American will have a heart attack.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the NIH SBIR program funds early stage small businesses that are seeking to commercialize innovative biomedical technologies. This competitive program helps small businesses participate in federal research and development, develop life-saving technologies, and create jobs.

Novo Biosciences is a regenerative medicine company developing small molecule therapies that reactivate and stimulate innate healing abilities in humans and animals.