NuVascular Technologies and Worcester Polytechnic Institute to commercialise stem cell treatment for heart damage

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NuVascular Technologies has obtained exclusive licensing rights to commercialise a breakthrough medical device that will provide a minimally invasive treatment for heart disease, which accounts for one in every four deaths in the USA.

The BioGenerator stem cell device allows the heart to repair itself and could improve heart function in as little as two to four weeks. NuVascular Technologies is partnering with researchers at both the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), and BioSurfaces, who contributed to the development of this technology.

The BioGenerator is a medical device consisting of two parts: a capsule made from BioSurfaces’ patented electrospinning technology, and stem cells derived from adult bone marrow at WPI. The BioGenerator can be stitched into the heart muscle wall or injected into the heart muscle itself through a catheter. Both options are minimally invasive, do not require open-heart surgery and allow the heart to repair itself. The encased stem cells release proteins and growth factors that move through the device into the heart muscle, stimulating the cardiac myocytes to grow and repair damage.

“Our research has given every indication that these devices could be revolutionary in repairing heart damage and treating heart failure,” said Glenn Gaudette, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at WPI, who has been working with BioSurfaces on the technology for six years. “While cells contained in the scaffold of the nanofibrous material cannot escape, oxygen and molecules can move through the nanofibrous membrane to stimulate the cells within the damaged heart.” 

It is especially important to contain the stem cells because they can travel into undesired areas. The electrospun fibers of the catheter and capsule control the dispersion of stem cells and allow removal of the cells at any time.

“Our nanofibrous scaffold will ensure that the therapeutic benefit provided by stem cells will be localised directly to the damaged area of the heart,” said NuVascular Technologies founder and chief technical officer Matthew Phaneuf. “This scaffold will also prevent the cells from leaving the target area while permitting easy removal of the device, if required.  We are confident that our devices can provide a minimally invasive, highly effective treatment for heart disease that can actually reverse the damage rather than providing a temporary solution that often comes with complications.”