Soulmaz Boroumand, Ph.D., works in a preclinical laboratory to verify the therapeutic power of a bioscaffold prior to Good Manufacturing Practice production.
Stem cells work by serving as reservoirs that release molecules capable of inducing repair within the ailing heart. Analyzing the regenerative signals secreted by stem cells offers the prospect of realizing cell-free (acellular) therapy. By eliminating cells from regenerative medicine therapies, the therapies can be stored on the shelf and be readily available for use. These "off-the-shelf" technologies improve consistency and accessibility and lower costs.
Investigators in the program are actively pursuing acellular therapy projects in various stages of discovery, translation and application. Research projects include:
- Biologically potentiated matrix. Researchers in the Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program are developing an off-the-shelf regenerative medicine product to heal and repair damaged tissue. The goal of this project is to develop a biologically enhanced gel that allows the heart to heal from within by activating the stem cells within the patient's own body. As a free technology, the regenerative product has the advantage of being applied directly to the patient without the need to grow the patient's own cells over time.
- Acellular personalized regeneration in heart attack (myocardial infarction). Using state-of-the-art molecular profiling to analyze patient blood samples at the time of heart attack, Mayo Clinic researchers have identified markers that can predict long-term risk of heart failure. With this information, researchers are developing a biologically activated gel with the ability to protect the heart muscle against injury at the time of infarction.
- mRNA and RNA delivery mechanisms. Due to the high risk of heart failure after heart attack, there is a strong need for solutions to help regenerate damaged cardiac tissue. Addressing this need drives discovery in the Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program. Using key biomarkers, the program's research team is working to target RNA to the site of injury at the time of heart attack. This novel therapy could help protect patients who are otherwise at high risk of heart failure.
- Modulation and regeneration of the cardiac conduction system. Current treatment options cannot prevent the thousands of cases of sudden cardiac deaths each year in the United States. Researchers in the Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program are working to develop an alternative, more effective treatment to target and genetically modify the cell populations responsible for ventricular fibrillation.