CyberHeart, a startup that is developing the world’s first non-invasive treatment for cardiac arrhythmias, has experienced tremendous clinical successes in the past few months.
“This is a game changer,” (for patients with irregular heart rhythm), said Dr. Melvin Scheinman, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and past president of the Heart Rhythm Society, during a recent
interview with the New York Times. “There is no question that this will catch on,” he added.
Trials show early signals of efficacy
The New York Times story was prompted by a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine highlighting extremely positive outcomes for patients who were treated using CyberHeart’s technology.
Researchers at the Washington University in St. Louis treated five patients using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System, which allows physicians to treat cardiac arrhythmias painlessly and accurately, in an outpatient setting without anesthesia, by utilizing the latest in medical imaging and the most accurate robotic radiosurgical system commercially available.
The five patients were in critical condition and were not responding to current available treatments, which include drugs and invasive surgery. Following the CyberHeart treatment, their episodes of tachycardia declined 99.9 percent from baseline events prior to the surgery.
The value of CyberHeart’s technology was further validated during an additional clinical treatment conducted at Texas Heart Institute, Baylor University Hospital, which included a 38-year-old patient who failed traditional invasive ablation treatment five times.
The surgery, which was performed by Dr. David Burkland, MD, electrophysiologist at Baylor, was painless and took less than one-and-a-half hours.
“The patient was able to see immediate results and go home for Christmas,” said Patrick Maguire, MD, CyberHeart’s president and CMO. “We could not have been more proud of the results and our role in helping a patient be able to celebrate with his family after previously unsuccessful treatments.”
What’s next for the company
The company is currently exploring options to expand its presence in Asia by potentially partnering with Beijing’s largest hospital, 301 Military Hospital, and has received Institutional Review Board approval from Xin Hua Hospital in Shanghai to treat tachycardia. This follows on the footsteps of signing an agreement with the National Cancer Center in Japan.
CyberHeart also has its eye on Europe as it awaits CE marking certification, and has engaged with the FDA to discuss pivotal trials. One of the trial sites will be El Camino Hospital, where the startup expects to treat its first patient in the second quarter.
Lastly, the company recently welcomed Ed Gardner, PhD, as principal engineer. Ed brings extensive expertise as a senior medical device engineer with experience in medical imaging and radiation therapy, including developing novel applications for radiation therapy and medical ultrasound from the proof-of-concept phase through to manufacturing. He returned to CyberHeart after serving as Director of Physics Development from 2007 to 2010, where he was an early contributor in determining the medical physics and techniques for the application of radiation therapy for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmia.
On May 9 to 12, the team will present in Boston at the Heart Rhythm Scientific Sessions, which hosts the brightest minds in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology.