The National Institute on Aging's (NIA) Cellular Biophysics Section is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize biological pacemakers.
A common symptom of many heart diseases is an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. While effectively improving the lives of many patients, implantable pacemakers have significant limitations such as limited power sources, risk of infections, potential for interference from other devices, and absence of autonomic rate modulation.
The technology developed by the NIA, consists of biological pacemakers engineered to generate normal heart rhythm. The biological pacemakers are created by administering in vivo a viral vector comprising a nucleic acid that encodes an adenylyl cyclase into electrically excitable cardiomyocytes of the heart of a patient. Generation of rhythmic electric impulses involves coupling factors, such as cAMP-dependent PKA and Ca2+-dependent CaMK II, which are regulatory proteins capable of modulating/enhancing interactions (i.e. coupling) of the sarcoplasmic reticulum-based, intracellular Ca2+ clock and the surface membrane voltage clock, thereby converting irregularly or rarely spontaneously active cells into pacemakers generating rhythmic excitations.
- In contrast to current implantable cardiac pacemaker technology, this technology is not externally powered, has a lower risk of infection, has decreased potential for interference from other devices, and has full autonomic rate modulation
- This technology can be utilized in heart disease characterized by arrhythmia or situations requiring an implantable cardiac pacemaker