Juventas begins enrollment of heart failure drug study

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Juventas Therapeutics has begun to evaluate the safety and efficacy of treatments for patients with Class III heart failure (HF) by conducting a phase I clinical trial to assess the use of JVS-100, an encoder of Stromal-cell Derived Factor 1 (SDF-1).

JVS-100 has been shown in pre-clinical models—HF pig models—to increase cardiac function, repair tissue and increase blood vessel formation in damaged organs. The open-label, dose-escalation trial will enroll 16 patients and be led by principal investigator Douglas Losordo, MD, of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute at Northwestern University, according to the biotechnology company.

SDF-1 accelerates the healing process by “recruiting endothelial progenitor cells to damaged organs to induce neovascularization and angiogenesis,” according to Juventas.

Cleveland-based Juventas said that JVS-100 has the potential to produce similar benefits to regenerative medicine without the need to distribute stem cells in patients.

"Humans have evolved in such a way that our natural SDF-1 expression is too short-lived for us to see any benefit; however, by delivering JVS-100, we prolong SDF-1 expression or re-introduce it at a time remote from injury for a period of time sufficient to promote significant tissue repair," noted Marc Penn, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer for Juventas.

Activating the SDF-1 repair pathway and treating patients with JVS-100 can be beneficial in repairing tissue in any of the main organ systems including the heart, brain, kidney, dermis, vasculature and nervous system, according to the company.