CCTRN selects MHI as one of seven U.S. centers of excellence

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The Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN), a nationwide U.S. network funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has selected the Minneapolis Heart Institute- (MHI) as one of its seven U.S. centers of excellence. The network will receive $63 million from the NIH and NHLBI over the next seven years to help achieve its mission of driving public health advances in cardiovascular cell therapy for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

MHI was integral to the success of the first CCTRN initiative-a series of clinical studies that took place over five years involving five sites using bone marrow stem cells in patients with heart disease, and in which nearly 50 percent of the patients were enrolled in Minnesota. As principal investigator, Timothy D. Henry, MD, director of research at the MHI, will be responsible for a network of Minnesota hospitals including the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, United Hospital in St. Paul, Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

This extension of CCTRN already has three trials planned, including

  • An allogeneic mesenchymal cell for patients with advanced heart function requiring left ventricular assist device;
  • An enhanced autologous bone marrow cell for patients with claudication (leg pain while walking); and
  • A combination of a bone marrow cell and a novel cardiac derived cell for patients with heart failure.

"These trials will play a key role in identifying the benefits of cell therapy in patients with cardiovascular disease. The Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital has been a leader in cardiovascular cell therapy research with more than 300 patients treated for a variety of conditions including acute heart attack, heart failure, ischemic heart disease and peripheral arterial disease," Henry said. "The first CCTRN was highly successful in achieving the NIH's goal of promoting clinical research and has led to the expansion of the network to seven clinical centers for seven years.

Henry noted the remarkable progress in cell therapy over the past several years. Currently, there are several large Phase 3 trials, which if proven efficacious, will lead to cell therapy added to the armamentarium for treating patients with challenging cardiovascular diseases. The CCTRN in particular is critical to provide key insights into the preferred cell, and method of delivery to increase the chance of success.

The CCTRN was created to support the collaboration of physicians, researchers and support staff with expertise in innovative stem cell therapies and experience in leading clinical trials that evaluate leading edge treatments for heart disease.

"Stem cell therapy holds great promise for treating heart disease, and researchers involved in CCTRN are helping determine how these promising therapies might be most beneficial to patients," said Sonia I. Skarlatos, PhD, NHBLI's deputy director of the division of cardiovascular sciences and program director of CCTRN. "This new round of funding is an important step in helping to improve cardiovascular health."

Source: Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation

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