What do we do in the RegMed XB Moonshot?
The Cardiovascular Moonshot of RegMed XB is a comprehensive program based on the concept that we should be able to create a cardiac regenerative therapy that suits best the individual patient. One approach is to restore the heart function outside of the body (ex vivo). The advantage of this method is that we can solely treat the heart and assess cardiac function during treatment while leaving all other tissues in the body as they are. Initially, this could be an option to restore donor hearts for transplant recipients. After restoring the heart, it will be re-implanted.
With this approach, we will be able to explore gene therapy as a cure for hereditary diseases as well. The researchers aim to stimulate the body’s own regenerative capacity including, for example, improving the contractility and perfusion of the heart muscle, repair, or replacement of coronary arteries and heart valves. Important is that the researchers will learn how to treat the heart better along the way and eventually also deduce how to treat the heart inside a patient and even prevent (certain) cardiovascular diseases.
This is the youngest of the Moonshots. So far, it has finished a hypothermic pilot which has increased the experience of the researchers with perfusion models. Currently this model if being further developed for optimal heart preservation. Furthermore, histopathological analysis of heart valves is ongoing. This will help in understanding how the heart valves will remodel under the influence of the altered flow of liquids in the ex vivo heart platform.
i De Boer AR, van Dis I, Visseren FLJ, Vaartjes I, Bots ML. Hart- en vaatziekten in Nederland 2019, cijfers over incidentie, prevalentie, ziekte en sterfte. Den Haag: Hartstichting, 2019
ii Statbel.fgov.be(2019). https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/bevolking/sterfte-en-levensverwachting/doodsoorzaken. Available at: https://statbel.fgov.be/nl/themas/bevolking/ sterfte-en-levensverwachting/doodsoorzaken [Accessed 17 Feb. 2020].