VICTORIA, Australia—More hope for the heart might not be faroff. Development of novel tissue engineering technologies—which have thepotential to augment tissue repair in the heart—is part of a researchcollaboration between Allied Healthcare Group and Commonwealth Scientific andIndustrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the latter of which is located here.
Research will focus on the development of Allied's noveltissue engineering technology, ADAPT, to treat tissue matrices for the deliveryof adult mesenchymal stem cells on models of heart failure.
Despite some skepticism over the effectiveness of stem cells,they are recognized as important in tissue repair and regeneration and arebelieved to act through mechanisms including the recruitment of cells to thearea for repair, says Lee Rodne, Allied's managing director.
"Many promises have been made by various parties as stemcell science progresses. Obviously, we will work through these as the programprogresses, but at this stage, it remains an early-stage program," notes Rodne.
The objective of this collaboration is to use the ADAPTtechnology to produce a new platform for the delivery of stem cells. Repair ofcardiovascular tissue through injection of a tissue bioscaffold and theattraction of cells to repopulate and replace the initial scaffold is expectedto yield a superior, long-lasting regenerative medicine implant that evolvesinto native tissue, says Rodne.
Stem cells now are delivered intravenously or injectedlocally. The advantage of incorporating them into a bio scaffold tissue productis that they are delivered directly to the source and already are incorporatedinto the tissue, Rodne explains.
ADAPT is differentiated by prevention of calciumaccumulation. Over the past 15 years, companies, including large global firms,have experienced no significant progression in calcification prevention.Achieving this has major long-term benefits for surgeons repairing and/orreconstructing tissue such as heart valves.
"In the longer term, this provides children born withcongenital heart disease longer-term survival progression promise," Rodnepoints out.
The partners' goal is to develop one or more productsglobally. Allied currently anticipates launching its first bioscaffold product,CardioCel, within the next 12 months.
Initially, the collaboration will focus on cardiovasculardisease and heart failure. The bioscaffold technology could be applied across arange of medical conditions beyond cardiovascular applications, Rodne adds, asit has broad applications from pediatric cardiovascular repair andreconstruction through to pelvic floor and hernia repair.
"Ultimately, we see our bioscaffold being applied to a rangeof stem cell products, rather than bound to a single program or stem cellcompany," explains Rodne.
The collaboration stems from an extended workingrelationship between members of both institutions, during which time Alliedprofessionals became acutely aware of capabilities and programs within CSIRO,some of which, such as its stem cell programs, complement the research anddevelopment programs at Allied, reports Rodne. Individuals from bothinstitutions have worked on a number of programs together over the past 12years, he adds.
Bob Atwill, CEO of Allied's Regenerative Medicine division,has years of experience in the stem cell area, while others at the company,like chief operating officer Dr. Julian Chick, also have worked on researchprograms involving stem cells and programs looking to incorporating stem cellsinto bioscaffolds.
CISRO did not respond to requests for comment.