Funding boost for heart repair research

Posted: 21st September 2022

A two-year grant announced today from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Cardiovascular Health Mission will support a team led by SVI’s Dr Shiang (Max) Lim to develop stem cell-based therapy for people suffering heart attack.

One person is hospitalised every nine minutes for heart attack in Australia, and every day an average of 19 people die from the condition.

“Stem cells have the potential to improve recovery from heart attack by producing beneficial, healing factors,” explains Max, Head of the Cardiac Regeneration Lab in SVI’s O’Brien Department. “However, the common method of injecting stem cells directly into the heart muscle is invasive and risky. The cells quickly die, resulting in only short-term beneficial effect.”

Max and his team have identified a safe and minimally invasive medical device to deliver beneficial factors from stem cells to the heart in a sustained manner to facilitate long-term repair – their findings were published in the peer-reviewed journal Cardiovascular Research last year.

“This new funding boost will accelerate development of our concept to clinical reality,” says Max. “It will enable us to test our concept in preclinical animal models – the penultimate step to human trials.”

The two-year, multi-partner project, “Sustained delivery of stem cell secretome for cardiac repair” has received almost $1 million over two years from the Medical Research Future Fund’s Cardiovascular Health Mission.