Enhancing drug delivery to stimulate heart repair

Optimizing methods to enhance delivery of medicines to stimulate heart repair after a myocardial infarction.

Given the global burden of ischemic heart disease, the development of strategies to regenerate the human heart is among the most important challenges facing human health. While the heart is notoriously resistant to regeneration, the fundamental biology of the myocardium provides multiple therapeutic opportunities to improve heart repair.

Our work has focussed on defining molecular approaches that enhance the limited regenerative capacity of the heart by systematically searching for microRNAs able to promote myocyte regeneration or protection in the ischemic heart. Based on our work a biotechnology company focussed on the development of microRNA-based therapeutics was founded, called miRagen Therapeutics.

While very potent chemistries exist to therapeutically inhibit or increase microRNAs, systemic delivery of these drugs reduces cardiac exposure and can introduce unwanted side effects in tissues besides the heart. To date several delivery tools are available to supply drugs more locally. Here we aim to define the most efficacious cardiac delivery method to enhance pharmacological activity of microRNA drugs, while reducing the risk for unwanted toxicities. Our in vivo efficacy studies in animal models of myocardial infarction will allow us to identify the optimal cardiac delivery approach for our drugs to improve cardiac regeneration during ischemic injury.

For more information, visit the websites of the Hubrecht Institute and miRagen Therapeutics.

In collaboration with miRagen therapeutics we have developed new drugs for heart disease. While these new medicines have proven to be efficacious, localized delivery to the heart could further improve their effects. Here we investigate opportunities to better deliver these new medicines to the heart.
Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
3 - 4
Time period
36 months