Researchers from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (WIMR) and the University of Sydney produced a study revealing that a protein therapy-recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-AB (rhPDGF-AB) could improve outcomes following heart attacks. The research team reminds readers that heart attack is the number one killer Down Under.
The Medical Issue
After a heart attack, scar tissue forms and this adversely impacts heart function. Following a heart attack, the heart muscle is damaged, which causes thick scar tissue to form. This can limit the heart’s ability to function efficiently and, moreover, can increase the risk of heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest. Present treatments exist, which restore blood and the oxygen supply to the heart as quickly as possible to reduce scarring. While this improved clinical outcomes, up to a quarter of patients experiencing their first heart attack will develop heart failure within one year.
In the United States, 1.5 million heart attacks will occur in any given year and Australians experience heart attack at a rate of about 339 per 100,000 population.
The Preclinical Research: Producing Results
The new study reveals that a protein therapy-recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-AB (rhPDGF-AB) could improve outcomes post heart attack. The Australian-based team found that infusing rhPDGF into subjects that have had heart attacks improves the quality of the scar, leading to the formation of new blood vessels in the heart and hence reducing the rates of dangerous heart arrhythmia (irregularities of heart rhythm that can cause sudden death).
This preclinical research has been ongoing for more than a decade, and the results of the effort are now appreciated. The most recent study was accomplished in a large animal model, and the results were published the journal Science Translational Medicine.
Westmead Institute for Medical Research
WIMR is a large medical research institute located at Westmead in Sydney’s suburbs. The institute is closely affiliated with Sydney Medical School and Westmead Hospital and comprises approximately 450 medical research and support staff. Originally called the Westmead Millennium Institute for Medical Research, the institute was founded in 1996 through the merging of five research groups at the Westmead health campus, initially comprising 40 medical researchers—it was renamed in 2015. They have rapidly grown on the basis of peer-reviewed funding. They have a staff of nearly 500.
James Chong, Associate Professor
Professor Richard Harvey, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute