New grant for stem cell therapy in cardiovascular disease
Press release issued: 16 December 2009
A new MRC grant of over £290,000 has been awarded to Paolo Madeddu, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascluar Medicine in the Bristol Heart Institute, to study stem cells in patients with cardiovascular disease.
So far “plain” or “sorted” cells have been used for cardiac repair. Both methods have disadvantages, as plain cells may contain curative as well as neutral or even hurtful cells, while mechanical sorting can increase purity at the cost of damage to the cells. The new MRC project led by Paolo Madeddu, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascluar Medicine in the Bristol Heart Institute at the University of Bristol, proposes to improve the strategy by selecting stem cells from patients with dead heart muscle based on the stem cells ability to migrate toward a chemical agent, which help in vivo homing.
This new function-based enrichment will be validated against commercially available separation kits in a model based on heart attacks in mice. Results could open a new way for second-generation stem cell therapy of myocardial ischemia, also known as angina.
Professor Madeddu, commenting on the grant award, said: “Patients with risk factors and cardiovascular disease have a shortage of stem cells and their stem cells are of poor quality.
“The proposed selection method will hopefully overcome these liabilities by separating cells instrumental to heart healing from dysfunctional cells. If the study confirms our hypothesis, patients with a heart attack will obtain better results from receiving a selection of their best stem cells.”
A heart attack happens when vessels of the heart become blocked, interrupting the flow of blood to the heart and causing a part of the heart to “infarct” or become dead heart muscle.
Further informationThe Medical Research Council (MRC) has awarded the three-year grant of £299,594 to the Bristol Heart Institute at the University of Bristol. The grant will start from March 2010 and will be led by Paolo Madeddu, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine. The research study is entitled ‘Function-based enrichment of pro-angiogenic cells for cardiac repair’.
The Bristol Heart Institute is made up of over 200 researchers and clinicians, from eight different departments in the University of Bristol, spanning three faculties, and from associated Bristol NHS Trusts. Research income is generated from grants, with the British Heart Foundation being the Institute’s main funder.
As well as improving collaboration between scientists and clinicians within the Institute, the aim is to communicate research findings to the public.
The Medical Research Council
For almost 100 years the Medical Research Council has improved the health of people in the UK and around the world by supporting the highest quality science. The MRC invests in world-class scientists. It has produced 29 Nobel Prize winners and sustains a flourishing environment for internationally recognised research. The MRC focuses on making an impact and provides the financial muscle and scientific expertise behind medical breakthroughs, including the first antibiotic penicillin, the structure of DNA and the lethal link between smoking and cancer. Today MRC funded scientists tackle research into the major health challenges of the 21st century.