First trial of gene therapy for advanced heart failure shows promising results

November 10, 2008

Phase I results of the first clinical trial of gene therapy for patients with advanced heart failure show the approach to be promising, with improvements in several measures of the condition's severity.

In Phase I clinical trials, researchers test a new treatment in a small group of people for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects.

Patients enrolled in the multicenter CUPID trial (Calcium Up-Regulation by Percutaneous Administration of Gene Therapy in Cardiac Disease) undergo a minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedure which introduces a specially engineered gene that stimulates production of an enzyme necessary for the heart to pump more efficiently.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center was the first to offer the therapy in the New York City area. The Hospital is now recruiting patients for the Phase II CUPID trial to further assess safety and effectiveness in patients with advanced heart failure.

Data from the Phase I trial, which was initiated in May of 2007, were presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2008 in New Orleans yesterday. Seven of nine patients who were given the drug showed improvements over six months in several areas: symptomatic (five patients), functional (four patients), biomarker (two patients) and left ventricular function/remodeling (six patients). Two patients with pre-existing antibodies to the viral vector delivery system did not show improvements. Importantly, the approach was shown to have an acceptable safety profile, as determined by an independent safety committee and by the study investigators.

"We are encouraged by these initial findings, which indicate that this therapy has the potential to help patients with advanced heart failure," says Dr. Donna Mancini, the study's principal investigator at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, where she is medical director of cardiac transplantation and is professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Phase II randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial will compare the therapy at two- or three-dose levels with placebo. CUPID is expected to enroll 46 patients with advanced heart failure at 13 U.S. hospitals.

Gene therapy is a technique for correcting defective genes responsible for disease development by inserting genes into a patient's cells and tissues. In most gene therapy studies, a "normal" gene is inserted into the genome to replace an "abnormal" disease-causing gene. A carrier molecule called a vector must be used to deliver the therapeutic gene to the patient's target cells. Currently, one of the most common vectors is a non-pathogenic virus most people have been exposed to in adolescence that has been genetically altered to carry normal human DNA.

More than 5 million people in the U.S. have heart failure. Patients with severe form of the disease have trouble breathing because the heart muscle is not strong enough to pump fluid out of their lungs. Approximately 70 percent die of the disease within 10 years, and the five-year survival rate is less than 50 percent. Heart failure is the only cardiovascular disease whose incidence has been increasing rather than decreasing in recent years.

Source: New York- Presbyterian Hospital

Explore further: Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

Related Stories

Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

October 16, 2017
A new study, published today in Circulation, shows that the gene Runx1 increases in damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, found that mice ...

Blood vessel 'master gene' discovery could lead to treatments for liver disease

October 16, 2017
Scientists have identified a key gene in blood vessels which could provide a new way to assess and potentially treat liver disease.

To cross the therapeutics finish line, we need to change the race

October 10, 2017
Scientific discoveries are outstripping our ability to convert them into medicines. Here's how we are tackling the challenge.

Post-heart attack: How can scar tissue be turned back into healthy heart muscle?

September 26, 2017
Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death worldwide, partly due to limited therapeutic options and the heart's inability to regenerate healthy cells called cardiomyocytes after heart attacks. Scientists at ...

Researchers uncover new congenital heart disease genes

October 9, 2017
Approximately one in every 100 babies is born with congenital heart disease (CHD), and CHD remains the leading cause of mortality from birth defects. Although advancements in surgery and care have improved rates of survival ...

New drug protects heart from cardiac rupture after myocardial infarction

October 2, 2017
There are currently many kinds of drugs for heart failure. Among them, the new drug LCZ696 is recommended by US guidelines as a first-line treatment for chronic heart failure. LCZ696 is better than conventional drugs at reducing ...

Recommended for you

Engineered protein treatment found to reduce obesity in mice, rats and primates

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. report that an engineered version of a protein naturally found in the body caused test mice, rats and cynomolgus monkeys to lose weight. In their ...

New procedure enables cultivation of human brain sections in the petri dish

October 19, 2017
Researchers at the University of Tübingen have become the first to keep human brain tissue alive outside the body for several weeks. The researchers, headed by Dr. Niklas Schwarz, Dr. Henner Koch and Dr. Thomas Wuttke at ...

Cancer drug found to offer promising results in treating sepsis in test mice

October 19, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A combined team of researchers from China and the U.S. has found that a drug commonly used to treat lung cancer in humans offers a degree of protection against sepsis in test mice. In their paper published ...

Study reveals key molecular link in major cell growth pathway

October 19, 2017
A team of scientists led by Whitehead Institute has uncovered a surprising molecular link that connects how cells regulate growth with how they sense and make available the nutrients required for growth. Their work, which ...

Tracing cell death pathway points to drug targets for brain damage, kidney injury, asthma

October 19, 2017
University of Pittsburgh scientists are unlocking the complexities of a recently discovered cell death process that plays a key role in health and disease, and new findings link their discovery to asthma, kidney injury and ...

Inflammation trains the skin to heal faster

October 18, 2017
Scars may fade, but the skin remembers. New research from The Rockefeller University reveals that wounds or other harmful, inflammation-provoking experiences impart long-lasting memories to stem cells residing in the skin, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.