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Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Scientific Opportunity

The NHLBI is committed to catalyzing progress in basic and clinical stem cell research that will lead to the development of regenerative therapies for heart, lung, and blood diseases.

Recent advances, including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) created from adult somatic cells, and the directed differentiation of stem cells into a variety of cellular derivatives, hold great promise for future therapeutic application.  However, important gaps remain in the understanding of stem and progenitor cell characteristics, the mechanisms of their differentiation, and the unique attributes of resultant differentiated states.  It is unclear how well laboratory-based differentiation of stem cells mimics what happens/occurs in living tissues and organs.  In addition, fundamental knowledge of cardiovascular and pulmonary stem and progenitor cell biology lags behind that for hematopoietic cells.

The NHLBI is supporting a research consortium as well as individual studies of stem and progenitor cells that will focus on characterizing the cells, directing their differentiation, and developing strategies for their clinical use.  Specifically, the supported studies will:

  • Identify and characterize stem cells and progenitor lineages of the heart, lung, vasculature, and blood;
  • Direct the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells, including iPS cells, to desired fates and characterize the differentiated states; and  
  • Develop new strategies for clinical use of stem and progenitor cells. 

Last Updated February 22, 2010

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