Disease Focus: Heart Disease

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Cardiovascular Diagnostics

Our objective is to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology to produce a cell-based test for long QT syndrome (LQTS), a major form of sudden cardiac death. Nearly 500,000 people in the US die of sudden cardiac death each year. LQTS can be triggered by drug exposure or stresses. Drug-induced LQTS is the single […]

Prospective isolation of hESC-derived hematopoietic and cardiomyocyte stem cells

The capacity of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) to perpetuate themselves indefinitely in culture and to differentiate to all cell types of the body has lead to numerous studies that aim to isolate therapeutically relevant cells for the benefit of patients, and also to study how genetic diseases develop. However, hESCs can cause tumors called […]

Modeling Myocardial Therapy with Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Five million people in the U.S. suffer with heart failure, at a cost of $30 billion/year. Heart failure occurs when the heart is damaged and becomes unable to meet the demands placed on it. Unlike some tissues, heart muscle does not regenerate. Human embryonic stem cells grow and divide indefinitely while maintaining the potential to […]

microRNA Regulation of Cardiomyocyte Differentiation from Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Regenerative therapies could be particularly beneficial for heart disease, which is the leading killer of adults in the U.S, and is responsible for the 5 million Americans with insufficient cardiac function. At the other end of the age spectrum, malformations of the heart involving abnormal cell lineage or morphogenetic decisions are the leading noninfectious cause […]

Engineering a Cardiovascular Tissue Graft from Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects more than 71 million Americans and 1.7 million Californians. Recently, engineered cardiovascular tissue grafts, or “patches”, including one made from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC), have shown promising results as a future therapy for CVD. Our overall goal is to extend these recent results to human ESC as follows. Aim 1: […]

Chemical Genetic Approach to Production of hESC-derived Cardiomyocytes

Adult heart muscle cells retain negligible proliferative capacity and this underlies the inability of the heart to replace muscle cells that are lost to injury, such as infarct, and underlies progression to heart failure. To date, no stem cell therapiy has produced significant cardiomyocyte replacement. Instead, transplanted cells, if they persist at all, produce endothelial […]

Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Therapies Targeting Cardiac Ischemic Disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States. Over one million Americans will suffer from a new or recurrent heart attacks this year and over 40 percent of those will die suddenly. In addition, about two-thirds of the patients develop congestive heart failure; and in people diagnosed with CHF, sudden […]

Development of Neuro-Coupled Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Cardiac Pacemaker Cells.

Optimal cardiac function depends on the properly coordinated cardiac conduction system (CCS). The CCS is a group of specialized cells responsible for generating cardiac rhythm and conducting these signals efficiently to working myocardium. This specialized CCS includes the sinoatrial node, atrioventricular node and His-Purkinje system. These specialized pacemaking /conducting cells have different properties from the […]

In Vivo Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Murine Model of Myocardial Infarction

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has emerged as one of the predominant modalities to evaluate the effects of stem cells in restoring the injured myocardium. However, MRI does not enable assessment of a fundamental issue in cell therapy, survival of the transplanted cells. The transplanted human embryonic cells (hESC) must at the very least survive to […]

Technology for hESC-Derived Cardiomyocyte Differentiation and Optimization of Graft-Host Integration in Adult Myocardium

Stem cells therapies hold great promise in the treatment of cardiac diseases such as coronary heart disease or congestive heart failure. Thanks to their ability to transform into almost any kind of tissue, engrafted stem cells can potentially replace damaged heart tissues with healthy tissues, effectively restoring the heart’s original functions. While initial studies demonstrated […]