Philippe Menasché

Professeur, Cardiac Surgeon, Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Paris

Dr Philippe Menasché is a clinical cardiac surgeon at the Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, Professor of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Paris-Cité and co-leader of an INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) team devoted to cell therapy of cardiovascular diseases. He also has a part-time affiliation with the Department of Biomedical Engineering of the University of Alabama in Birmingham. The group has a long-standing interest in stem cells for the treatment of chronic heart failure with a definite commitment towards clinical applications. While the initial research has focused on the transplantation of skeletal myoblasts (first-in-man implantation in 2000), it then moved towards the combination of cardiac progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells (ESC) with a tissue engineering-based construct.

The first-in-man trial testing this cell-loaded patch has now been successfully completed. In parallel, mechanistic studies have unravelled the predominant role of paracrine signalling and, consequently, the group has shifted its research towards a-cellular cell therapy based on the exclusive use of the secretome with the objective of further streamlining the clinical translatability of this myocardial repair strategy.

The first clinical trial testing this a-cellular strategy has just started. In parallel, the recognition that myocardial fibrosis is a key contributor to chronic heart failure has led the group to also initiate a collaborative program for assessing the effects of CAR-T cells against a fibrosis-associated protein in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Finally, considering that cell therapy is an area where different medical areas can fruitfully cross-fertilize, we have also leveraged our experience with heart failure to other non cardiac indications including severe traumatic brain injury and acute respiratory distress syndromes as seen in patients with Covid-19-induced pneumonia.

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