In France, there is a new regenerative medicine medical device, the CARMAT heart (pictured). It may be "a significant advance," says McGowan Institute
faculty member Robert Kormos, MD, Director of the Artificial Heart and Thoracic Transplant Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a board member of the American Society of Transplant Surgeons. "If the claims prove to be a reality, they have a device that has a substantive benefit over the current technology that exists."
The new design uses cutting-edge biopolymer materials that promise to reduce the formation of dangerous blood clots—a persistent problem with early artificial hearts—and may even spare patients from needing to use nettlesome anticoagulant drugs. And feedback sensors and software can adjust the heart's speed and pressure depending on the exertion level of the wearer, permitting a vastly greater range of physical activity.
The preliminary animal trials and lab tests performed with the CARMAT artificial heart have generated interest from the medical community in France and worldwide, as well as from the health authorities. At present, CARMAT's prototype artificial heart has been patented and is undergoing preclinical testing. It meets the human body's biocompatibility criteria. It is functionally similar to the human heart in both anatomic and functional terms - notably via automatic regulation of heart rate and blood flow according to the patient's physiological needs. Following approval by the French Agency for Healthcare Product Safety, CARMAT's prototype will be evaluated first in life-threatened patients with no other available treatment options and then (depending on the results of the initial clinical trials) in patients with a better prognosis.
CARMAT SAS is an innovative medtech start-up company that has been spun out of the collaboration between the renowned French surgeon Professor Alain Carpentier (scientific founder) and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company. Together through the implementation of biomaterials and cutting-edge technologies, they have constructed an artificial heart. CARMAT intends to market a fully implantable artificial heart that will be able to provide renewed hope and quality of life to the hundreds of thousands of patients suffering in the aftermath of a massive heart attack or with late-stage heart failure and for whom standard drug therapy, ventricular assistance, and/or a heart transplant have failed or are not possible.
Illustration: European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company.
Business Week (10/27/08)
Truffle Capital Press Release (10/27/08)
Medical News Today (10/27/08)
Bio: Robert Kormos, MD