Moderna Begins Administering New MRNA Shot That Is Injected Directly Into the Heart
Moderna is currently developing an mRNA shot that aims to help the body produce relaxin, a hormone that can increase blood flow and potentially reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Using the same technology as the COVID-19 vaccine, the shot, known as mRNA-0184, would be injected directly into the heart, according to the U.K. Daily Mail.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel revealed the program in October, describing it as “science fiction medicine.”
“We have now in the clinic a super exciting program where we inject mRNA into people’s hearts after a heart attack to grow back new blood vessels to help revascularize the heart,” Bancel told Sky News Australia at the time, the Daily Mail reported.
He added, “It’s a bit like science fiction medicine, but that’s what is really exciting to me.”
Moderna began testing mRNA-0184 last week, the Daily Mail reported.
Moderna said in its latest business update that the phase 1B clinical trials are being conducted in patients “with stable heart failure” in order to evaluate the shot’s safety and tolerability, as well as the body’s reaction to the drug and the effects of different dosage levels and frequency.
According to the Daily Mail, the shot instructs the heart to generate the relaxin hormone, which will improve blood flow and potentially allow new blood vessels to grow after a heart attack.
According to the Moderna website, “mRNA-0184 encodes for relaxin, a naturally occurring hormone that is known to cause hemodynamic changes that are potentially beneficial for heart failure patients.”
A heart attack occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood.
According to the CDC, about a half of all Americans are at risk of a heart attack due to factors that are mostly controllable, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and smoking.
Those who have suffered a heart attack before are also significantly more likely to suffer another in the future.
In fact, around 20 percent of people who have had a heart attack are hospitalized from another within five years, the Daily Mail reported.
The mRNA-0184 vaccine is designed to be injected weeks or even months after a heart attack.
“The mRNA sequence of mRNA-0184 is engineered to instruct the body to produce relaxin with an extended half-life, with the goal of producing a sustained clinical benefit in heart failure patients,” Moderna explained.
“This longer half-life may result in more durable effects compared to previous approaches.”
The company hopes the drug will “result in more durable effects compared to previous approaches targeting heart failure.”
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