November 1, 2009—Scientists at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD) and Stanford University School of Medicine will collaborate in a new consortium funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to develop stem cell and regenerative medicine therapies. Teams of experts from the two organizations will research how to use induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, to repair damaged heart muscle.
iPS cells result from the "reprogramming" of adult cells into a cell closely resembling an embryonic stem cell. Like stem cells, they can develop into any cell type in the body. While a stem cell can renew itself indefinitely or differentiate into an adult cell, a progenitor cell can only divide a limited number of times and is often more limited than a stem cell in the kinds of cells it can become. Given the potential of these cells for clinical applications, the goals of the consortium are to identify and characterize progenitor cell lines, direct the differentiation of stem and progenitor cells to desired cell fates, and develop new clinical strategies to address the unique challenges presented by the transplantation of these cells.