Cellular Therapies

Stem cell therapies

Clinical studies have shown that stem cells are not only safe, but can be effective treatment options for patients with heart disease. However, poor definition of cell types, diversity in cell-handling procedures and variability in repair potential have impeded the overall adoption of stem cell therapies in medical practice. To overcome these hurdles, researchers in the Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program are developing next-generation stem cell therapies with optimized regenerative capacity.

Research background

Current and future cardiac regenerative medicine projects in cellular therapy are grounded in Mayo Clinic's strong background in this area. Building on previous accomplishments, the Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program continues to advance the following research:

  • Optimization of stem cell-based regeneration in ischemic heart disease. One of the major breakthroughs in cardiac regeneration occurred at Mayo Clinic: the discovery of a cardiac progenitor population (cardiopoietic stem cells). These cardiopoietic stem cells have been tested in phase III studies, helping identify the optimal dosing and clinical parameters that drive the greatest benefit in patient populations suffering from heart failure.
  • Development of novel biologics delivery modalities in the heart. Mayo Clinic researchers worked with engineers and collaborated with industry to develop novel catheter technology to improve stem cell retention in the heart.

Projects

Investigators in the Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program are actively pursuing cellular therapy projects in various stages of discovery, translation and application. Research projects include:

  • Clinomics platform. The program's clinomics platform drives discovery of novel biomarkers to identify patients who are at high risk of heart failure. Clinomics help clinician-investigators in early diagnosis and enable researchers to develop treatment options to reverse or reduce long-term damage.
  • Highly regenerative stem cell populations. Researchers have built on clinical trials testing a cardiopoietic stem cell platform in patients with heart failure to identify a unique population of stem cells. This rare population of cells was noted to dramatically improve heart function after delivery.

    The Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program has developed an approach to engineer this highly regenerative cardiopoietic population and is partnering with the Center for Regenerative Medicine to manufacture this cell platform.

  • Endomyocardial delivery. A major challenge in the field of cardiac regeneration is the ability to efficiently and safely deliver stem cells into the heart. In partnership with the Molecular Research Imaging Laboratory of Timothy R. DeGrado, Ph.D., in the Department of Radiology, the Mayo Clinic Van Cleve Cardiac Regenerative Medicine Program has established a novel cell tracking technology to assess cell biodistribution. Using this technology, researchers are developing new catheter-based delivery tools to streamline clinical algorithms in cardiac regeneration.