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September 13, 2017

Temple secures $11.6 million grant for exploring stem cell solutions to heart disease

Temple University was awarded an $11.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help scientists pursue heart disease solutions created by stem cells.

Specifically, researchers from the Lewis Katz School of Medicine will use the grant to explore stem cell-based therapeutic strategies that could preserve, or even regenerate, cells damaged by ischemia, which is often a pivotal catalyst of heart disease.

“Previous attempts at stem cell therapy for heart disease did not work as hoped,” Dr. Raj Kishore, professor of pharmacology and medicine, said in a statement. Kishore is also the director of the Stem Cell Therapy Program in the Center for Translational Medicine.

“In many cases, the stem cells themselves were injured by inflammation in the heart following injection or were not functioning optimally, having been weakened from disease, such as diabetes, or age.”

Research on this topic has been divided into three projects for Kishore and his colleagues in an attempt to unravel how stem-cell-derived exosomes can function in the heart.

The first project will focus specifically on the function and content of exosomes from bone marrow stem cells in both healthy and diabetic animals. The second project will focus on examining signaling pathways in cardiac stem cells, while the third will focus on exosomes from cortical bone stem cells.

“This research gives us the opportunity to explore the idea that cell-based exosomes can be used to enhance repair of the heart after a heart attack,” Dr. Steven R. Houser, director of the cardiovascular research center at LKSOM, said in a statement.

‘The goal will be to translate our findings into novel therapies for patients with heart disease.”

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