Stem cell research at Yale targeting cardiovascular disease

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The fight against heart disease is the focus of Yale scientists working with stem cells.

Bio-engineered smooth tissue, made of stem cells, induced from blood cells directly taken from patients with cardiovascular disease.

It’s an example of the ongoing work at Yale Cardiovascular Research and Stem Cell Centers.

Yale scientist – Dr. Biraja Dash – led the team that created a vessel ring, which mimics a human blood vessel.

The goal — to test the effectiveness of approved FDA drugs for potential use among heart patients.

Dr. Dash says, “With the ring, we can literally see whether these movements are going on inside or not, so if we treat it with a drug and the smooth muscles doesn’t grow in, then that’s the drug for you to go to the next level for clinic.”

Still – it’s likely five years away from benefiting patients.

“Our scientists,” says Dr. Yibing Qyang at Yale School of Medicine, “are very excited to discover new medicines or new cardiovascular tissue to treat patients with cardiovascular disease.”

He adds, they are taking a more personalized stem cell approach, constructing tissue, to treat specific groups of patient.

“Then we can test multiple drugs on the target and find the most efficacious drug that can treat the patient.”

And there’s more.

There’s a beating vascular ring — a potential bypass.

It’s the concept of Dr. Jiesi Luo.

“For some patient,” says Dr. Luo, “with a problem in their septum in the heart, so it’s a by-pass and they need to feed the blood directly to the pulmonary artery.”

The advancements here, thanks to state and federal funding.

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