the power of
Extracellular matrix (ECM) is the natural scaffolding and framework in which cells reside. It is a network of macromolecules that provides structural and biochemical cues. ECM influences all aspects of cell behavior, including proliferation, differentiation, survival, and function. Importantly, the composition and structure of the ECM varies from tissue-to-tissue, providing a unique microenvironment for proper cell and tissue function.
ECM has a diverse nature and provides an architectural structure and environment necessary for tissue repair. Without functional ECM, repair is stalled, as the ECM is no longer able to support the normal cellular processes.
Ventrix is focused on engineering a new porous and fibrous scaffold where ECM has been degraded, thus generating a new healthy microenvironment to facilitate repair.
& Heart Failure
Cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States, as well as in the rest of the western world. The body depends on the heart's pumping action to deliver oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to the rest of the body to sustain normal function.
Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow ceases to part of the heart causing damage to the heart muscle. Up to one-half of MI patients will develop heart failure (HF) within 5 years, and two-thirds do not make a complete recovery.
With heart failure, the weakened heart can no longer pump effectively. This results in fatigue and shortness of breath. Everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs or carrying groceries can become very difficult. When end-stage failure occurs, heart transplantation or implantation of a left ventricular (LV) assist device are the only available treatments.
There is a need to bridge the gap in care between heart attack and late-stage heart failure.
It is currently estimated that approximately 5.7 million Americans are suffering from heart failure. The estimated direct and indirect healthcare expenditures for patients with this condition nears $26 billion annually.
For more: we suggest a visit to the American Heart Association heart failure webpage.
left ventricular dysfunction
Heart failure subsequent to an MI is often progressive. Following death of the cardiomyocytes, immune cells (macrophages, monocytes, and neutrophils) migrate into the infarct area, initiating the inflammatory response.
After the initial inflammatory phase, there is an up-regulation of matrix metalloproteinases that degrade ECM, leading to infarct expansion and wall thinning. To resist deformation and rupture, collagen scar is deposited.
Although the exact mechanisms of heart failure are unknown, it is suggested that left ventricular (LV) dysfunction and subsequent remodeling may independently contribute to progressive deterioration of cardiac function of heart failure.