The continuous and coordinated contraction of the heart is ensured by the hierarchical organization of its electrical conduction system. Abnormalities in this specialized system may lead to either pathologically slow heart rate owing to inefficient pacemaker function or atrioventricular conduction (bradyarrhythmias usually requiring implantation of electronic pacemakers), to electromechanical dyssynchrony and deterioration in the heart’s contractile performance, or to abnormally fast and irregular heart rates (tachyarrhythmias such as in the case of atrial fibrillation).
Traditional therapies for the different cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure with ventricular dysschnchrony include pharmacotherapy, which has limited efficacy and associated with significant side effects, including pro-arrhythmia by various devices (pacemaker and defibrillators). Existing devices may be limited by the number and locations of electrodes used and may be associated with significant pain (ICD shocks); and by ablation therapy which is irreversible and destructive.it may be inefficient in certain arrhythmias (chronic atrial fibrillation).
Our patented technology represents an alternative approach for the treatment of different cardiac arrhythmias. This approach (optogenetics) utilizes light-sensitive proteins to modulate cardiac electrical activity. Specifically we are focusing on devising novel approaches for optogenetic-based pacing, resynchronization (for heart failure with mechanical de-synchrony), and defibrillation (treatment for tachyarrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation) therapies.
- Multi-site “leadless” pacing
- Painless defibrillation
- Modulation of action-potential duration
Applications and Opportunities
- Our approach describes a generic technology that could target a variety of cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure related disorders:
- An alternative to electronic pacemakers for the treatment of bradyarrhythmias
- Treatment of heart failure patients with mechanical de-synchrony
- “Painless defibrillation” for prevention and termination of atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmias
- Treatment of heart failure
- Treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with left ventricular outlet obstruction
- Termination of reentrant arrhythmia