The laboratory of Robert D. Simari, M.D., is based on the premise that through basic definition of the molecular basis for cardiovascular disease, novel therapeutics can be identified and developed. The lab's aim is to define biological problems and treat them with biological therapeutics.
The interests of Dr. Simari's group are broad and range from understanding the vascular response to injury and thrombosis, the development of novel peptide- and cell-based therapies, and the development of biologic heart valves.
Long-term research aim:
- Develop novel biological therapies for cardiovascular disease through enhanced understanding of the molecular basis of vascular disease
Mid-term research aims:
- Better define the coordinated regulation of thrombosis and angiogenesis
- Define the phenotype and function of progenitor cells in the adult vasculature
- Develop novel biologic approaches to generation of prosthetic heart valves
- Perform early (first-in-man or phase I) clinical trials of novel therapies for cardiovascular disease
Dr. Simari's lab is broadly arranged to identify novel opportunities to translate fundamental discoveries in cardiovascular disease toward new therapeutics. Areas of focus are:
- Vascular hematopoietic progenitor cells. The lab's recent discovery of a population of hematopoietic progenitor cells in adult aortas suggests that vascular leukocytes may come from local sources, not bone marrow sources (Psaltis et al, Circulation, 2012). These findings may lead to a new understanding of vascular disease.
- Biologic heart valves. The lab has recently extended its work in the area of biologic therapies to include the development of biologic heart valves. Dr. Simari's group is pursuing development of decellularized valves as scaffolds for autologous progenitor cells.
- Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network. Dr. Simari has the honor of chairing the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network, which is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The network performs early phase I and II trials of cell-based therapies for heart disease. It has completed three trials for acute and chronic left ventricular dysfunction and is currently pursuing studies in novel cardiovascular populations.
- B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP). Dr. Simari's lab has identified a novel alternative splice variant of BNP (Pan et al, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2009) and generated a biodesigned peptide that is currently being tested in phase I clinical trials.
Significance to patient care
Cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death in the U.S. Dr. Simari's efforts are focused on providing hope to patients. Dr. Simari's goals are to develop and test new therapies for cardiovascular disease. He is currently leading trials of cell therapy for heart and vascular disease for patients who do not have current treatments available. His studies in developing biologic replacements for heart valves may provide similar opportunities.
- Member, American Society of Clinical Investigation
- Chair, Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network
- Editorial Board, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
- Editorial Board, Texas Heart Institute Journal