New approach to healing hearts gets approved for clinical trial

One of the goals of the stem cell agency is to bring promising therapies into clinical trials, to see if what works in the laboratory can work in people. It’s exciting but challenging work and, like all good science, it takes time. That’s why the news this week from Dr. Eduardo Marban at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute was so encouraging.

Dr. Marban and his company, Capricor, have been given approval by the Food and Drug Administration for an Investigational New Drug (IND). CIRM provided Cedars-Sinai with a $5.5 million Disease Team Award that contributed to this research and helped move it from the lab to clinical trials.

The therapy uses Cardiosphere Derived Cells (CDCs) to reduce scarring and repair the damage caused to heart muscle by a heart attack. The cells are found in heart tissue and have the potential to change into a variety of different heart cell types.

As Ellen Feigal, MD, CIRM’s Senior Vice President for Research and Development, said in a news release that we issued, “This is the first time that research by a CIRM-funded Disease Team has resulted in an Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from the FDA, a critical step in testing promising therapies in patients.”

This may be the first time one of the Disease Teams we have funded has reached this point. But we’re confident that others will be following along soon.

K.M.

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