Regenerative Medicine Center
Current Research Projects
Approximately one million heart attacks occur in the United States each year and six million patients experience heart failure. There are limited repair mechanisms available for the effects of heart attacks and other damaging events. Without repair, heart tissue is replaced by scar tissue, resulting in an increased risk of death due to heart failure or arrhythmia. There is no effective therapy to replace dead or damaged heart tissue except for a heart transplant. However, a lack of heart donors makes transplant an inefficient therapy. Therefore, there is a need for a new, effective method to repair a damaged heart.
Multiple cell-based platforms have been developed, harnessing the regenerative potential of stem cells and other cells for heart repair. More than 1,000 patients on clinical trials received stem cell therapy for cardiovascular disease worldwide. There has been a favorable safety profile, a reduction in scarring and a modest improvement in heart function. Most of these studies have used bone marrow-derived stem cells as the reparative agent. However, recent studies suggest that other cells have regenerative potential as well. Our current studies will determine the reparative potential of other cells, such as fibroblasts.