Experimental Drug May Repair Failing Hearts

Cimaglermin, a new experimental drug, may help restore cardiac function after heart failure, according to a first-in-man study published Dec. 26 in JACC: Basic to Translational Science.

Daniel J. Lenihan, MD, FACC, and colleagues examined the safety and efficacy of a single infusion of cimaglermin, which acts as a growth factor for the heart, helping the structural, metabolic and contractile elements of the heart to repair itself following injury. The study included 40 heart failure patients who were taking optimal medical therapy for at least three months prior to the trial. Compared to patients who received a placebo, patients who received a high dose of cimaglermin had a sustained increase in left ventricular ejection fraction, or pumping capacity, through 90 days after dosing, with the maximum increase reached at day 28.

Results showed that the most common side effects were headache and nausea, which were temporarily associated with exposure to the drug. One patient receiving the highest planned dose of cimaglermin experienced an adverse reaction that met the stopping criteria of U.S. Federal Drug Administration guidance for drug induced liver injury.

“Although the results of the study must be regarded as provisional because of the small numbers of patients, the results of this study are nonetheless very exciting,” said Douglas L. Mann, MD, FACC, editor-in-chief of JACC: Basic to Translational Science. “Instead of blocking the fundamental mechanisms that lead to cardiac injury, the early results with cimaglermin suggest that it may also be possible to administer therapeutics that allow the failing heart to repair itself using its own repair mechanisms.  If the results of this study can be replicated and translated into improvements in clinical outcomes in larger numbers of patients in phase II and III clinical trials, it will represent a paradigm shift in the way in which clinicians treat patients with heart failure.”

Clinical Topics: Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathies, Acute Heart Failure

Keywords: Coal Tar, Headache, Heart Failure, Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins, Nausea, Stroke Volume, Ventricular Function, Left


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