McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member John Pacella, MD, Associate Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and an Interventional Cardiologist within the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, is partnering with Microvascular Therapeutics (MVT), a biotechnology company based in Tucson, Arizona, and a leader in microbubble technology.  MVT recently was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a part of the National Institutes of Health.

MVT has developed a new, improved ultrasound contrast agent, MVT-100, which is currently in clinical testing and is being supported by the NHLBI. MVT is modifying the MVT-100 microbubble into smaller bubbles called nanodroplets for microvascular clot detection by incorporating a targeting molecule to bind the microbubbles to the clots.

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, with over 1 million Americans estimated to have a new or recurrent heart attack this year. Although mortality from heart attack has decreased in recent years, post-myocardial infarction (MI) congestive heart failure is increasing due to blockage of the small blood vessels in the heart by small clots. This SBIR is leveraging the unique expertise of MVT and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Ultrasound Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics.

“The team at MVT will work with Dr. John Pacella, MS, MD, Interventional Cardiologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Vascular Medicine Institute, who developed animal models for microvascular obstruction, and key opinion leader, Dr. Matthias Wilson, MD, Professor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine, who conducted a prospective, randomized clinical trial of treating heart attack patients using transthoracic ultrasound coupled with administration of microbubbles. At MVT we have developed smaller targeted microbubbles, called nanodroplets which will permeate the clots more easily and upon activation by ultrasounds dissolve the clots. The grant is for the in vivo proof of concept studies and translate our in vitro observations into small animal models of microvascular obstruction,” said Emmanuelle Meuillet, PhD, VP of Research and Development at MVT.

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