Cellprothera, start-up,”a pioneer in the regeneration of cardiac cells”, held a press conference on Friday to reveal the progress made in its clinical trial (see Des essais pour réparer le cœur avec les cellules souches des patients – trials to repair the heart using patients’ stem cells): three patients recently received an intracardiac injection of blood stem cells intended to regenerate their heart following an infarction. Their condition “improved considerably”. Overall, 44 patients will be enrolled in the clinical trial, 11 of whom will form the control group and receive standard treatment. On completion of this trial, “provided that results meet expectations, a third phase will be launched before the treatment is made generally available”.
The pilot phase of this clinical trial (currently in phase I/IIb) took place between 2002 and 2007. Several myocardial infarction victims with poor prognosis received an injection of specific blood stem cells (CD34). This treatment had a “very positive effect” and“all patients are still alive”, explained Professor Philippe Hénon, President and Scientific Director. The treatment “prevents the onset of secondary heart failure and, in the more severe forms, precludes the need for a heart transplant”.
Since then, Start-up, which is based in Mulhouse, has developed “an automated system and disposable kits which can produce between 50 and 100 million CD34 blood stem cells from a single blood sample using a standardised, large-scale technique”. Approximately one month after an attack, these cells are injected into the patient’s heart “via a catheter which is inserted into the femoral artery under local anaesthetic, and injected into the ventricular wall around the region damaged by the infarction”.
The on-going trial is taking place in Nantes and in Newcastle in the United Kingdom, where incubators have been installed. It could be extended to Singapore in 2018 and the United States and Canada in 2019. Cellprothera has nevertheless announced its need for additional capital: “€28.3 million have already been raised, but scientists need €40 million in order to meet their targets and expand the trial”.
Le Point, Anne Jeanblanc (28/01/2017); Pourquoi Docteur, Antoine Costa (28/01/2017)