About the Center
The mission of the Vascular and Cardiac Adult Stem Cell Therapy Center is the discovery and clinical translation of therapies involving transplantation of adult stem cells into patients with debilitating vascular and cardiac diseases.
In 2007, the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine was awarded an IUPUI Signature Center grant to help fund the Signature Center for Adult Stem Cell Therapy. Because adult stem cell therapy offers so much scientific promise, the Division of Cardiology matched the initial funding from IUPUI to establish this center. Although significant, the initial funding is only a fraction of what is needed to achieve the type of scientific advancements that will help patients.
This new Center will focus its efforts on the use of adult stem cells derived from several sources. Very few centers in the world have emerged with this expertise, and the IUSM is in a strong position to establish itself as a leader in this critical area. A unique cross-disciplinary set of investigators is available to develop a national and internationally visible program focused on the development of new cellular therapies for several life-threatening diseases for which current treatment approaches remain limited.
About Stem Cells
Today’s medical therapies generally try to support or treat injured tissues and organs, but stem cells taken from a patient’s own body may eventually provide a better solution. For example, instead of giving insulin to diabetics, the goal is to inject patients with cells that can produce insulin in their body as needed. Adult stem cells are easy to obtain from a patient’s body, practically limitless in supply and are not subject to rejection by the patient.
An adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell found among differentiated cells in a tissue or organ; it can renew itself and can differentiate to yield the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. Generally speaking, stem cells are special because they have the ability to divide continually and form new cells. The primary roles of adult stem cells in a living organism are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. Research using adult stem cells has recently generated a great deal of excitement. Scientists have found adult stem cells sources that include bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, placenta, organ tissue, and fat (adipose tissue).