At the University of Ottawa, scientists have developed a novel compound, composed of collagen and a tetrasaccharide carbohydrate called sialyl Lewis X, designed to provide a scaffold to help the body grow new blood vessels.
Researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) have successfully grown blood vessels in damaged muscle tissue by injecting a biomaterial developed specifically to attract new cells and support
regeneration. Blood vessel regeneration suggests that the body’s own cells might one day be used to repair heart damage and restore function.
The novel biomaterial developed by the Heart Institute combines a collagen protein and a molecule known as sialyl Lewis X. The biomaterial forms a biological platform, or ‘smart scaffold,’ which serves as a mechanism to support cell growth. When injected into damaged muscle, the scaffold attracts special types of cells in the bloodstream called progenitor cells. In turn, the progenitor cells send out homing signals that call other cells to join them in growing new blood vessels.
Until now, cell therapy has shown only modest improvement in helping to restore blood flow and functionality in a failing heart. The challenge has been to set up a natural magnet or ‘homing device’ to attract cells long enough for them to survive and grow. With the new biomaterial, the Heart Institute approach does just that by imitating and enhancing the natural process of blood vessel formation in the body.
“The concept of using cell therapy to rebuild blood vessels in and around the heart is proving to be the next frontier in cardiac medicine. This landmark development clearly represents a major step forward in adding to our ability to cure heart failure,” said Dr. Ruel, Director, Cardiac Surgery Research, UOHI.
Heart Institute research showed that when compared with scaffold made from the collagen alone, the hind thigh muscles in rats treated with the smart scaffolding had more new blood vessels and improved function after a two-week period.
Press release: University of Ottawa Heart Institute Scientists Successfully Develop Novel Biomaterial to Help Grow New Blood Vessels (.pdf)…
Article abstract in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: An acellular matrix-bound ligand enhances the mobilization, recruitment and therapeutic effects of circulating progenitor cells in a hindlimb ischemia model…