Cellmid Ltd (ASX:CDY) has revealed that the prestigious Journal of Experimental Medicine has published a significant study showing for the first time that midkine, around which the company holds extensive intellectual property rights, promotes cardiac muscle inflammation associated with the occasionally fatal autoimmune disease, myocarditis.
Cellmid’s midkine antibodies prevent cardiac muscle damage due to rampant inflammation, thereby reducing fibrosis and preserving cardiac function.
The paper by Cellmid collaborators Dr Ludwig Weckbach and Professor Barbara Walzog describes how midkine is key to the inflammatory processes of myocarditis leading to cardiomyopathy and end-stage heart failure.
As the holder of the most significant intellectual property assets around midkine globally, the publication provides Cellmid with exposure to and a strong platform for partnerships.
Important further studies planned
The findings of midkine’s role in autoimmune myocarditis may be relevant to the dangerous side effects of new blockbuster cancer drugs that boost the immune system to combat tumours.
By taking the breaks off the immune system, checkpoint inhibitors often cause immune related adverse events that can develop rapidly and, in the case of autoimmune myocarditis, are fatal in about one to four percent of all patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors.
Cellmid head of R&D Dr Graham Robertson said: “The potential of Cellmid’s midkine antibodies to alleviate the heart failure experienced by cancer patients may lead to deploying our midkine assets as an adjunct therapy in oncology to work alongside immuno-oncology drugs.”
The latest findings and planned future studies support the therapeutic application of Cellmid’s midkine antibodies in the treatment of myocarditis, including myocarditis resulting from injury to the myocardium by toxins, therapeutic agents and other drugs, infectious agents and other autoimmune diseases/conditions.