A primary and high-priority area of interest in the CVRI involves investigation of adult stem cell biology and therapy. A growing body of evidence supports the notion that transplantation of adult stem/progenitor cells can induce cardiac repair and improve left ventricular function and structure after myocardial infarction. The stem cell program in the CVRI conducts research to identify the optimal cell for this purpose and to enhance the outcomes via modification of cells before transplantation.
The major goals of the stem cell program are:
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for infarct repair: Mesenchymal stem cells represent a rare population of primitive cells that reside in the bone marrow and participate in organ repair following injury. Injection of these cells after myocardial infarction can repair the heart and improve left ventricular function. These studies are broadly directed at improving the outcomes of MSC therapy for cardiac repair.
Wnt11 signaling in stem cell-induced cardiac repair: Wnt11 is a member of the 'wingless' family of glycoproteins that participate in various biological processes, including cellular proliferation, differentiation, and migration during development. The goal of this project is to delineate the role of Wnt11 signaling in differentiation of adult bone marrow cells and in cardiac repair.
Pretreatment of stem cells for greater cardiac differentiation: Our laboratory has extensive experience with the induction of cellular differentiation using various defined media. The primary goal of this project is to identify biological agents that will direct differentiation of adult stem/progenitors in cardiac lineages.
Investigators, trainees, and associates: