Israel21C is reporting that an Israeli company MultiGene Vascular Systems (MGVS) is conducting early stage clinical trials of its patient-specific cell therapy for peripheral vascular disease. According to Israel21C, MultiGene Angio (MGA) cell-based therapy is being tested in such places as Penn University Medical Center and University of Michigan. MGA is in essence a suspension of cells of endothelial and smooth muscle origin, initially taken from the patient’s short vein segment, then isolated, expanded, and gene modified by the transfer of angiogenic genes. This suspension, once given to a patient intraarterially at the site of obstruction, is thought to have angiogenic potential down below, to develop new collateral arteries and to alleviate symptoms of peripheral vascular disease.
What has also caught our attention was the company’s attempts to develop cell-based prosthetic grafts, a project called MultiGeneGraft. Here’s how the company explains its technology:
MultiGeneGraft is a long-lasting, biosynthetic vascular graft lined with the patient’s own endothelial cells, modified to provide improved biocompatibility. MultiGeneGraft serves as a prosthetic conduit in PAD patients undergoing bypass surgery or as an access site for patients with renal disease who need hemodialysis.
The failure rate of uncoated small caliber synthetic grafts is high: approximately 50% are occluded within the first 3 years after transplantation by thrombosis and neointimal formation. Coating these grafts with endothelial cells improves their patency. Our studies show, that in order to obtain prolonged patency, the graft inner lumen must be effectively coated with endothelial cells. MGVS MultiGeneGrafts are seeded with the patient’s own endothelial cells that have undergone ex vivo gene modification to improve cell adhesion to the graft, enhance endothelial cell proliferation, and reduce graft failure by inhibiting neointimal formation.
MultiGeneGraft production process is initiated by endothelial cell isolation from a short vein segment stripped from the patient’s arm under local anesthesia. Next, endothelial cells are expanded, characterized, and gene modified by the transfer of two unique genes. Finally, the modified endothelial cells are seeded onto a synthetic graft, using a custom built seeding device developed by MGVS to homogenically seed 4 to 6mm grafts. The MultiGeneGraft final product is transferred to the hospital and implanted in the patient.