REGENERX BIOPHARMACEUTICALS, INC. (AMEX: RGN) reported today that a study published in the advanced online edition of the journal Nature supported and elaborated TB4’s significant effects in the damaged hearts of mice and highlighted its therapeutic potential for the treatment of heart attacks and heart failure in humans.
“TB4 is presented here as a single factor that can potentially couple myocardial [heart] and coronary vascular regeneration in failing mouse hearts,” according to researchers from the University College London’s Institute of Child Health, London, UK; Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX; Massachusetts General Cardiovascular Research Center, Boston, MA; and Harvard Medical School and Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Cambridge, MA.
“A major shortcoming of current angiogenic therapy in response to myocardial ischemia in humans is that the outcome may be limited to capillary growth without concomitant collateral support of arterioles [terminal branches of arteries]. Our findings that, in mice, TB4 can promote vessel formation and collateral growth not only during development but also critically from adult epicardium, suggest TB4 has considerable therapeutic potential in humans,” stated the researchers.
“These results are very exciting because most humans suffering from ischemic cardiac events, either acutely or chronically, do not develop the collateral vessel growth necessary to preserve and restore heart tissue. If, in humans, we see the same effects as seen in mice, TB4 would be the first drug to prevent loss of [heart] muscle cells and restore blood flow in this manner and provide a new and much needed treatment modality for these patients,” commented Deepak Srivastava, M.D., Professor and Director, Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, University of California San Francisco, CA. Dr. Srivastava and his colleagues published the first paper on TB4’s effects on myocardial infarction in Nature in November 2004.
The study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Medical Research Council.
Over 105,000 people die from heart disease in the UK each year. Heart attacks occur in over one million people annually in the United States and over thirteen million suffer from coronary artery disease, making it the single largest cause of death in the Western world.