Cardiac Stem Cells

Preclinical Research

Scientists are developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases using cardiac-derived stem cells in mice and large-animal models. Three current projects are studying:

  • Exosomes as critical agents of cardiac regeneration
  • The mechanisms of heart regeneration by cardiac-derived stem cells
  • Biological pacemakers, creating minimally invasive somatic reprogramming

Our researchers are isolating exosomes from specialized human cardiac-derived stem cells and finding that they have the same beneficial effects as other types of stem cells. In mice models, our research shows that exosomes produce the same post-surgery benefits, such as decreasing scar size, increasing healthy heart tissue and reducing levels of chemicals that lead to inflammation. This research suggests that exosomes convey messages that reduce cell death, promote growth of new heart muscle cells and encourage the development of healthy blood vessels.

Mechanisms of Heart Regeneration by Cardiosphere-Derived Cells
Investigators seek to understand the basic mechanisms of coronary artery disease in preclinical disease models. We hope to gather novel mechanistic insights, enabling us to boost the efficacy of stem cell-based treatments by bolstering the regeneration of injured heart muscle.

Biological Pacemakers
Using an engineered virus carrying T-box (TBx18), Cedars-Sinai researchers are reprogramming heart muscle cells (cardiomyoctes) into induced sinoatrial node cells in pigs. Cedars-Sinai research shows that these new cells generate electrical impulses spontaneously and are indistinguishable from sinoatrial node or native pacemaker cells. Investigators believe this could be a viable therapeutic avenue for pacemaker-dependent patients afflicted with device-related complications.

Clinical Research

Researchers hope to someday incorporate therapeutic regeneration as a regular treatment option for a broad range of cardiovascular disorders, such as myocardial infarctions, heart failure, refractory angina and peripheral vascular disease. Through the Regenerative Medicine Clinic at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, several cardiac stem cell trials are underway. They include:

  • Myocardial infarction
  • Heart failure
    • ATHENA
    • ixCell-DCM
    • Mesenchymal Precursor Cell in Heart Failure (upcoming clinical trial)
  • Refractory angina
    • RENEW
  • Peripheral arterial disease
    • Placenta-Derived Adherent Cells in PAD Phase II (upcoming clinical trial)