POSTECH Developed Stem Cell Therapy for Myocardial Infarction Using Mussel Adhesive Protein

Published : Monday, March 23, 2020, 1:34 pm
ACROFAN=Seunghee Shin | | SNS
The initial mortality rate of myocardial infarction is 30%. Since myocardial infarction is a disease directly connected to life, it is known that more than 50% of patients die even before they go to the hospital. Because of this, fast and active treatment is significant to prevent myocardial infarction from reaching a heart attack. Recently, a research team from POSTECH (Pohang University of Science and Technology) has developed an effective stem cell therapy for myocardial infarction using mussel's powerful and harmless protein and stem cells.

POSTECH research team led by Prof. Hyung Joon CHA and Tae Yoon PARK developed "adhesive liquid cell carrier" with The Catholic University of Korea research team led by Prof. Sung Bo SIM and Prof. Jongho LEE. The "adhesive liquid cell carrier" allows the transplant to be maintained for a long time by using a phase separation phenomenon of mussel adhesive protein (MAP) to form a coacervated type so that mesenchymal stem cells are easily captured, and stem cells are efficiently transferred between damaged myocardial tissues. In particular, it is expected to be a revolutionary method for the treatment of myocardial infarction as it can be mass-produced.

▲ Myocardial Infarction Stem Cell Therapy (Material provided by POSTECH)

The heart is a central organ that circulates blood while repeating contraction and relaxation by electrical signals. When the blood vessels of the heart are blocked by blood clots, it is challenging to supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart, and muscle cells and blood vessels surrounding them will be extremely damaged. It is myocardial infarction that necrosis occurs in the myocardial wall, and the wall becomes thinner. Since the heart cannot regenerate itself once it has been damaged, there is no way to regenerate the damaged heart muscle dramatically. So in severe cases, it becomes necessary to put on a mechanical device or transplant another heart.

Recently, as a future treatment technology, studies have been actively conducted to transplant stem cells into damaged myocardial tissues and make them regenerate. However, the transplanted stem cells have significantly reduced transplant rates due to poor and extreme myocardial environment. And even if the transplant succeeds, most die soon.

Stem cell treatment for myocardial infarction requires two conditions that can withstand the environment of the damaged myocardium. The first is that the stem cells must be efficiently transplanted and left for a long time between the heart's high blood pressure, rapid blood flow, and myocardial tissue thinned by myocardial infarction. Second, the transplanted stem cells must rapidly integrate with existing surrounding tissues to build blood vessels and improve viability. However, until now, it was complicated for stem cells to be successfully delivered to the damaged myocardial tissue and to maintain the transplant.

The joint research team made the stem cell self-capture in the process of making a liquid coacervate. Then, the resulting stem cell treatment was efficiently implanted by injecting it into the thinned damaged myocardial wall. Through animal experiments, it was confirmed that the transplanted stem cells survived the damaged myocardial tissue for a long time based on the adhesion and the ability to form blood vessels of MAP materials and the biomolecular efficacy of the stem cells. Furthermore, new blood vessels were formed in the damaged myocardial tissue, prevented the further killing of existing myocardial cells, and relieved fibromyalgia to restore the damaged myocardial wall.

The new stem cell carrier developed through research is expected to play a critical role in the stem cell therapy market as it uses biocompatible biomaterials that are harmless to the human body.

The results of this study were published online in the Journal of Controlled Release, the world's leading authority in the field of drug delivery.

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