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A bioscaffold for heart disease repair
VICTORIA, Australia—More hope for the heart might not be far off. Development of novel tissue engineering technologies—which have the potential to augment tissue repair in the heart—is part of a research collaboration between Allied Healthcare Group and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the latter of which is located here.
Research will focus on the development of Allied's novel tissue engineering technology, ADAPT, to treat tissue matrices for the delivery of adult mesenchymal stem cells on models of heart failure.
Despite some skepticism over the effectiveness of stem cells, they are recognized as important in tissue repair and regeneration and are believed to act through mechanisms including the recruitment of cells to the area for repair, says Lee Rodne, Allied's managing director.
"Many promises have been made by various parties as stem cell science progresses. Obviously, we will work through these as the program progresses, but at this stage, it remains an early-stage program," notes Rodne.
The objective of this collaboration is to use the ADAPT technology to produce a new platform for the delivery of stem cells. Repair of cardiovascular tissue through injection of a tissue bioscaffold and the attraction of cells to repopulate and replace the initial scaffold is expected to yield a superior, long-lasting regenerative medicine implant that evolves into native tissue, says Rodne.
Stem cells now are delivered intravenously or injected locally. The advantage of incorporating them into a bio scaffold tissue product is that they are delivered directly to the source and already are incorporated into the tissue, Rodne explains.
ADAPT is differentiated by prevention of calcium accumulation. Over the past 15 years, companies, including large global firms, have experienced no significant progression in calcification prevention. Achieving this has major long-term benefits for surgeons repairing and/or reconstructing tissue such as heart valves.
"In the longer term, this provides children born with congenital heart disease longer-term survival progression promise," Rodne points out.
The partners' goal is to develop one or more products globally. Allied currently anticipates launching its first bioscaffold product, CardioCel, within the next 12 months.
Initially, the collaboration will focus on cardiovascular disease and heart failure. The bioscaffold technology could be applied across a range of medical conditions beyond cardiovascular applications, Rodne adds, as it has broad applications from pediatric cardiovascular repair and reconstruction through to pelvic floor and hernia repair.
"Ultimately, we see our bioscaffold being applied to a range of stem cell products, rather than bound to a single program or stem cell company," explains Rodne.
The collaboration stems from an extended working relationship between members of both institutions, during which time Allied professionals became acutely aware of capabilities and programs within CSIRO, some of which, such as its stem cell programs, complement the research and development programs at Allied, reports Rodne. Individuals from both institutions have worked on a number of programs together over the past 12 years, he adds.
Bob Atwill, CEO of Allied's Regenerative Medicine division, has years of experience in the stem cell area, while others at the company, like chief operating officer Dr. Julian Chick, also have worked on research programs involving stem cells and programs looking to incorporating stem cells into bioscaffolds.
CISRO did not respond to requests for comment.