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"A novel multi-functional elastin-like recombinant hydrogel for the prevention of scar tissue formation following a myocardial infarction: ""ELR-SCAR"""

Project description

Elastin to fix a broken heart

Myocardial infarction or heart attack is caused by a blood flow restriction to the heart that may lead to tissue damage. To prevent scar tissue formation, the EU-funded ELR-SCAR project proposes to develop a hydrogel consisting of elastin, a protein that provides strength and elasticity to tissues. This material effectively binds to endocardium and provides a barrier to scarring while also being biodegradable. The plan is to deliver the hydrogel via an endocardial catheter to the heart of patients, an approach that will be tested during the ELR-SCAR project in a first-in-human validation study. Considering the high prevalence of myocardial infarction in the population, the proposed intervention is expected to have a high societal impact.


The ELR SCAR project aims to complete preclinical validation of a novel biomaterial, an elastin-like recombinant (ELR) hydrogel, to prevent scar tissue formation in the heart following myocardial infarction (MI), commonly called a heart attack. MI is the endpoint of ischaemic heart disease (IHD). In Europe, the highest rates of IHD worldwide equal ~26.5 million patients. Standards of care interventions after MI have serious limitations in treatment efficacy (many patients are still at risk of developing heart failure) and patient safety. There is a clear medical need for new treatment solutions that prevent scar tissue formation and irreversible cardiac remodelling. Our robust preclinical dataset so far indicates that the ELR hydrogel has this promising functionality via multiple unique characteristics: it provides selective cell adhesion to the endocardium, providing a barrier to scar tissue formation; it offers high biospecificity to the ischaemic microenvironment, and it has an enhanced biodegradability, allowing for safe disintegration in the body. To facilitate endocardial delivery of the ELR hydrogel, we will develop a minimally invasive endocardial catheter in this project. Both components (hydrogel + catheter) will be advanced to the preparedness level for a first-in-human (FIH) validation study for the application as therapeutic intervention post-MI (to be performed after the project). In addition, we will develop the regulatory and IPR strategies in preparation for this clinical validation step. Considering the high societal impact of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and MI, we will also develop a solid health economic evaluation of possible savings and patient benefits. ELR-SCAR will transform and fundamentally improve clinical practice, resulting in reducing the enormous burden that MI and its leading cause, IHD, place on society and the individual patient.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 245 836,00
H91 Galway

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Ireland Northern and Western West
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 245 836,25

Participants (7)