Sydney: Heart disease remains the largest killer around the world and now researchers have found that a protein therapy — recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-AB (rhPDGF-AB) — could improve outcomes following heart attack. After a heart attack, scar tissue forms and this negatively affects heart function, said the study, published in journal Science Translational Medicine. In the study, researchers showed that infusing rhPDGF into participants that have had heart attacks improves the quality of the scar, leads to the formation of new blood vessels in the heart and reduced rates of dangerous heart arrhythmia (irregularities of heart rhythm that can cause sudden death).
“This is an entirely new approach with no current treatments able to change scar in this way. By improving cardiac function and scar formation following heart attack, treatment with rhPDGF-AB led to an overall increase in survival rate in our study,” said the study’s lead researcher James Chong from the University of Sydney in Australia.
“While the treatment did not affect overall scar size, importantly we found that rhPDGF-AB led to increased scar collagen fibre alignment and strength. This improved heart function after the heart attack,” Chong said.
According to the study, Richard Harvey, Professor, Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, had previously shown that the protein can improve heart function in mouse models following heart attack.