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Cell Therapy Institute: Cardiovascular Disease


Restoring Healthy Heart Function with Cardiac Stem Cells

Research Team: Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, M.D., Ph.D.; Vladimir Beljanski, Ph.D.
Summary:  There are currently no available options to repair vital heart muscle and tissue following a heart attack, and heart transplantation is a highly limited option. The NSU Cell Therapy Institute is developing novel culturing systems to produce pure populations of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and at the same time activate cardiac progenitor cell differentiation. These activated cardiac MSCs can be differentiated into three types of cardiac cells: cardiomyocytes; endothelial cells; and smooth muscle cells. The ability of these cells to regenerate the damaged myocardium, while at the same time possessing traits that prevent immune rejection and inflammatory response, makes this a highly promising approach to restoring healthy heart function.

Regenerative Approaches to Heart Valve Disease

Research Team: Cecilia Osterholm Corbascio, PhD; Vladimir Beljanski, Ph.D.
Summary: Valvular heart disease (VHD) is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, yet the mechanisms of this process remain largely unknown. Furthermore, the properties of currently used bioprosthetic valves lead to valve degeneration and subsequent heart failure. A regenerative approach would allow for the generation of new heart valves by combining the patient’s own stem cells with a biological matrix not prone to immunologically mediated deterioration. The focus of this research at NSU will be to study valvular heart disease from decoding mechanistic pathways to creating new valves from the patient’s own stem cells.