Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Lung progenitors and disease

What is the role of lung stem/progenitor cells in disease?

Which diseases involve stem cell defects?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Increasing Regenerative Medical Strategies in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a complex, progressive condition characterized by high blood pressure in the lungs and restriction of flow through the pulmonary arterial system. Current PAH therapies mainly act of the vasoconstrictive component of the disease; however there is a widely accepted view that another contributor to the disease is an abnormal overgrowth of cells that line the pulmonary arteries, which ...more »

Submitted by (@michaelg)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

In the past twenty years, 12 PAH targeted-therapies have been approved by the FDA. This increase in disease state awareness and in the treatment armamentarium have contributed to an increase in average survival from 2.8 years to an estimated 8-10 years. However, current treatments primarily address the vasoconstrictive component of the disease and do not address the now accepted theory of post-apoptotic overgrowth of hyperproliferative cells of the pulmonary vessels. A number of circulating stem and progenitor cells, derived from the bone marrow, have been identified that could have roles in repair of the pulmonary vascular system when interacting with the quickly, abnormally growing cells in the lung vessels. Work in this area has been named as a future research opportunity in the NHLBI-ORDR Strategic Plan for Lung Vascular Research (Erzurum S, et al. 2010).

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Basic and translational research support is needed—including high-throughput approaches such as phage display and large-scale proteomic analysis—to better understand the relationship between circulating bone marrow-derived cells, lung-resident stem and progenitor cells, and endothelial cells of the pulmonary arterial system.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Pulmonary Hyeprtension Association, Michael Gray, Katie Kroner

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Stem Cell Immunology

We now can create critical cell types like cardiomyocytes etc. from stem cells. Additionally, we are learning the rules of using these cells to rebuild tissues. A major gap in our knowledge relates to the immunobiology of these cells. Lessons from transplantation medicine are only partially applicable, because solid organs are more complex and likely more immunogenic than defined cell populations. How does the immune ...more »

Submitted by (@murry0)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

We now can generate large quantities of critical cell types whose deficiencies underlie many chronic diseases like heart failure. This breakthrough brings us to the next-level impediment: the immune system. While induced pluripotent stem cells have the potential to obviate rejection, in practical terms this is cost-prohibitive: It will cost huge amounts of money to produce and qualify a single patient's cell dose. Moreover, human cardiomyocytes are potent when given to infarcted hearts in the acute or sub-acute phase of infarction, but they have no benefit with chronic heart failure. The 6 months required to produce iPSC-cardiomyocytes precludes their autologous use for myocardial infarction.

 

We need an off the shelf cell therapy product for myocardial infarction that can be mass produced and qualified for large numbers of patients. This means an allogeneic product is necessary. Identifying the immune response to cardiomyocytes or other cell products will teach us how to precisely immunosuppress the patient, thereby minimizing complications, or alternatively, how to engineer the cells so as to avoid immunogenicity in the first place.

 

Lessons from the study of cardiomyocyte transplantation could extend to dopamine neurons, pancreatic beta-cells, retinal cells, myelinating cells and many other areas that cause common chronic disease.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

We know a great deal of transplant immunology from hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (graft versus host) and from solid organ transplantation (host versus graft). There are good mouse and large animal (including non-human primate) models of stem cell differentiation and organ transplantation. This offers low hanging fruit where, in perhaps 5 years, we could discern the critical similarities and differences between transplanting stem cell derivatives and organ or marrow transplantation. These studies will inform clinical trials of allogeneic human stem cell derivatives that will be underway by then.

 

Success in this area will require bringing together researchers interested in stem cell biology and transplant immunology. A properly resourced RFA from NIH could be just the thing needed to promote this interaction.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Charles Murry, MD, PhD

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Engineered ECM for heart repair

Utilizing advances in nano, bio, tissue and related engineering technologies to construct cardiac ECM for heart repair.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Will advance cell and gene based therapeutics for cardiac repair. Despite promise, efficacy of cell based therapies remains largely unproven and this may in part be due to poor understanding of cell-ECM interactions. Research efforts in engineering cardiac ECM have the potential to greatly advance such therapeutic approaches.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This research field is ripe for experimentation and testing.

A major thrust of recent efforts in repairing cardiac injury has focused on cell therapies. However, since the ECM provides the necessary scaffold for the cells it is important to consider the cell-ECM interactions when utilizing these approaches.

 

Will require multi-disciplinary expertise.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Overcoming barriers to translational regenerative medicine

Current stem cell based approaches to translational medicine predominantly show modest efficacy. Most research rest on accepting existing limitations and focusing upon "tweaks" to the experimental model rather than taking on important barriers head on. The efficacy of stem cell-based regenerative medicine will never be fully realized unless we stop trying overly simplistic approaches such as"more is better" and start ...more »

Submitted by (@heartman4ever)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The field of regenerative medicine holds great potential but we risk losing the public trust by hyperbolic promises, modest efficacy, and incremental research steps. Truly innovative research will transform the landscape and offer truly novel therapeutic approaches to many current incurable conditions. The result is a dramatic shift in the practice of medicine, new options for treatment, enhanced engagement of the public in biomedical research and new growth opportunities for the NIH and biotech sectors.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The future is here for regenerative medicine, but for the most part the potential and practice has been unrealized or poorly executed. The challenge is to identify the limiting factors and sweep them aside. There is broad and surprisingly consistent consensus on what the barriers are to successful regenerative therapy, but it seems most researchers are complacent and accept these limitations as inherent in the system rather than try to find truly combative approaches to overcome the barriers to enhancing regenerative processes. So it is essential to change the current mindset and push for a full frontal attack on the barriers that impede successful regeneration rather than minor modifications or uninspired brute force approaches that ignore the underlying mechanistic issues. Also, a major challenge is the hyperbole and overselling of research findings and impact by researchers and their institutions looking to capitalize upon the "discovery de jour." Such overly optimistic and unrealistic promises undermine our position in the public eye and compromise our future ability to earn the public trust.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : M Sussman

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Harnessing Lung Regenerative Capacity to Improve and Increase Donor Lungs for Transplantation.

Using knowledge of matrix biology and lung development, what are useable methods to modify cadaveric donor lungs to provide a durable, effective organ replacement therapy?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

A major advance in this area will increase the number of donor lungs available for lung transplantation

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

A number of stem and progenitor cells involved in lung repair and regeneration have been identified. Targeting them for expansions in damaged donor lungs may turn these damaged lungs into healthier lungs that can then be used for lung transplant safely.

Most of the donor lungs are not suitable for lung transplantation because the premorbid conditions of the donors often also damaged the lungs. Bioreactors have been used to “rehab” these damaged lungs and optimizing the ex vivo condition in these bioreactors may accelerate the lung repair process.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Stem cell niche in the lung

How do lung progenitors recognize stem cell niches, and what cell-cell interactions mediate normal repair?

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Research on the stem cell-niche interaction will enhance our understanding of stem cell behavior, enable manipulation of stem cell activity and differentiation potential, and facilitate the development of stem cell-based therapy.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Developing novel models for in vitro 3D culture and in vivo transplantation assays will facilitate the progress.

 

Recent advances have identified and characterized several lung progenitor cell types. However research gaps remain on understanding the interaction of stem cells with the niche, and how the microenvironment impacts on the stem cell activity during injury/repair.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Translational research supporting stem cell therapy for cardiovascular disease

Translational research supporting stem cell therapy for cardiovascular disease, including: core laboratories for preclinical IND-enabling studies (e.g., PACT), and clinical trials networks for evaluating promising new treatments (e.g., CCTRN).

Submitted by (@judith.l.bettencourt)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The most cost effective scientific procedure ever utilized to answer the risk benefit question posed by a new intervention to be used in humans is a clinical trial. Major clinical trials are their most effective when planted in controversial ground (MRFIT, CAST, ALLHAT). Like these studies, which were caught in a controversial dynamic of uncertainties and disparate sets of expectations, a clinical trial network to assess cell therapy is precisely what is needed.

Experienced researchers recognize the current inimical environment of cell therapy. Now - as before - some forces argue that new therapy offers no benefits, while other equally vehement constituents contend that the benefits of therapy are so great, and the risks so small, that the treatment requires little if any regulation and should be available at once to the US public. Each side provides thunder, but little light.

It is precisely in this contentious environment where passions argue beyond the data that clinical trials are required. Their construction of the most objective view of the strengths and weaknesses of the intervention comes at a cost, but the answers these well designed and concordantly executed studies provide is the clearest illuminations of the benefits and risks of human cell therapy.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Based on the unmet clinical needs in the treatment of cardiovascular disease and the compelling early evidence for the promise of cell therapy, NHLBI created the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network in 2007. Now in its ninth year, the Network has completed three major clinical trials in cell therapy. It has published 35 manuscripts in prestigious clinical journals including JAMA, Circ, and Circ Research. Its biorepository has published two manuscripts relating baseline phenotype findings to measures of left ventricular function. A fourth clinical trial is underway assessing the effect of cell therapy on peripheral vascular disease. The Network is also proceeding with the largest effort to assess the effect of CSC cells in patients with heart failure - the first clinical trial that will assess the effect of combined cell therapy in heart failure patients. In addition, CCTRN will study the effect of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells in patients with anthracycline-induced cardiomyopathy. Each of these protocols is NHLBI and FDA approved.

CCTRN’s reputation of conducting and then promulgating the results of high quality clinical trials makes it the most effective mechanism to assess the benefits of cell therapy in cardiovascular disease. It is important to continue to fund the infrastructure already in place to ensure its continued high quality operation and its place as the cornerstone of cardiovascular clinical cell therapy research in the United States.

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Regenerative Medicine 2.0 in Heart and Lung Research - Back to the Drawing Board

Stem cell therapies have been quite successful in hematologic disease but the outcomes of clinical studies using stem cells for cardiopulmonary disease have been rather modest. Explanations for this discrepancy such as the fact that our blood has a high rate of physiologic, endogenous turnover and regeneration whereas these processes occur at far lower rates in the heart and lung. Furthermore, hematopoietic stem cells ...more »

Submitted by (@jalees)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Some barriers to successfully implementing cardiopulmonary regeneration include the complex heterogeneous nature of the heart and lung.

 

Hematopoietic stem cells can give rise to all hematopoietic cells but the heart and lung appear to contain numerous pools of distinct regenerative stem and progenitor cells, many of which only regenerate a limited cell type in the respective organ. The approach of injecting one stem cell type that worked so well for hematopoietic stem cells is unlikely to work in the heart and lung.

 

We therefore need new approaches which combine multiple regenerative cell types and pathways in order to successfully repair and regenerate heart and lung tissues. These cell types will likely also require specific matrix cues since there are numerous, heterogeneous microenvironments in the heart and lung.

 

If we rethink our current approaches to regenerating the heart and lung and we use combined approaches in which multiple cell types and microevironments are concomitantly regenerated (ideally by large scale collaborations between laboratories), we are much more likely to achieve success.

 

This will represent a departure from the often practiced "Hey, let us inject our favorite cell" approach that worked so well in hematologic disease but these novel, combined approaches targeting multiple endogenous and/or exogenous regenerative cells could fundamentally change our ability to treat heart and lung disease.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Jalees Rehman

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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Funding of Stem Cell/Lung Regeneration Research

How to "cure" a chronic, incurable disease - A potential giant step in saving the lives of many thousands of Americans, and potentially millions worldwide, who are afflicted with COPD, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. The financial effect of COPD in the United States alone is well over $50 billion per year. It is estimated that some 30 million Americans have COPD, which of course means that at least that ...more »

Submitted by (@jimandmarynelson)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

COPD is chronic and presently incurable. Although it sickens and disables nearly 30 million Americans, and kills 140,000 of them each year, the only "cure" is a lung transplant. Due to the scarcity of organ donors and the requirements that lungs be removed from the donor in a hospital setting, only about 1,400 lung transplants are performed in the Unites States each year. Unfortunately, transplants are fraught with complications, side effects, and potential rejections, and on the average, add only about 5 years to the life of the recipient. The best potential solution lies with the stem cell and lung regeneration research that is presently occurring at a few centers around the country. Ideally, the re-engineered lungs would be composed of the patient's own stem cells, eliminating a great many of the current transplant issues.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Research is presently in process on construction or reconstruction of human organs. There has been success in creating some of the simpler organs, such as the esophagus and bladder, and a Medical Center in Galveston has implanted re-engineered lung is a pig. As of my latest conversation with the lead Doctor on the project, results so far are promising.

There is general agreement among the researchers with whom I have communicated that we are between 5 and 20 years away from human trials of re-generated lungs using the patient's own stem cells, but more funding means more research which means more possibilities of the saving of lives.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Jim Nelson - COPD Foundation MASAC/CAC/BOARD Committee Member

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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Embedding the future of regenerative medicine into the open epigenomic landscape of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells

Large-scale profiling of developmental regulators and histone modifications by genome-wide approaches have provided powerful genome-wide, high-throughput, and high resolution techniques that lead to great advances in our understanding of the global phenomena of human developmental processes. However, without a practical strategy to convert pluripotent cells direct into a specific lineage, previous studies are limited ...more »

Submitted by (@xuejunparsons)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Large-scale profiling of developmental regulators and histone modifications by genome-wide approaches have provided powerful genome-wide, high-throughput, and high resolution techniques that lead to great advances in our understanding of the global phenomena of human developmental processes. However, without a practical strategy to convert pluripotent cells direct into a specific lineage, previous studies are limited to profiling of pluripotent human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiating multi-lineage aggregates, such as embryoid body that contain mixed cell types of endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm cells or a heterogeneous population of embryoid body-derived cardiac cells that contain mixed cell types of cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells, and endothelial cells. Their findings have been limited to a small group of genes that have been identified previously in non-human systems, and thus, have not uncovered any new regulatory pathways unique to human development. Although genome-wide mapping of histone modifications and chromatin-associated proteins have already begun to reveal the mechanisms in mouse ESC differentiation, similar studies in hESC are currently lacking due to the difficulty of conventional multi-lineage differentiation approaches in obtaining the large number of purified cells, particularly cardiomyocytes, typically required for ChIP-seq experiments.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Opportunity: Recent technology breakthrough in lineage-specific differentiation of pluripotent hESC by small molecule direct induction allows generation of homogeneous populations of neural or cardiac cells direct from hESC without going through the multi-lineage embryoid body stage. This novel small molecule direct induction approach renders a cascade of neural or cardiac lineage-specific progression directly from the pluripotent state of hESC, providing much-needed in vitro model systems for investigating the genetic and epigenetic programs governing the human embryonic CNS or heart formation. Such in vitro hESC model systems enable direct generation of large numbers of high purity hESC neuronal or cardiomyocyte derivatives required for genome-wide (e.g., ChIP-seq) profiling to reveal the mechanisms responsible for regulating the patterns of gene expression in hESC neuronal or cardiomyocyte specification. It opens the door for further characterizing, identifying, and validating functional elements during human embryonic development in a comprehensive manner. Further using genome-wide approaches to study hESC models of human heart formation will not only provide missing knowledge regarding molecular cardiogenesis in human embryonic development, but also facilitate rapid progress on identification of molecular and genetic therapeutic targets for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Xuejun Parsons

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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Can we break the silos at NHLBI? Why are we not working on studiying heart and lung issues in blood cancer survivors?

There is an increasing number of blood cancer survivors in the United States. Many of them have treatment induced heart and lung comorbidities (i.e CHF, pulmonary fibrosis, early aging, etc). However, there does not seem to be a concerted effort by the NHLBI to leverage their relationship with the NCI or the BMT CTN to address this issue. NHLBI should be developing a funding mechanism for cardiopulmonary researchers to ...more »

Submitted by (@giralts)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Would create an infrastructure for cardiopulmonary researchers to work with hematology researchers.

Reduce burden of therapy with curative intent

Develop insight into cardiopulmonary diseases outside of the cancer arenal

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Very feasible with the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network and the National Clinical Trials Network

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sergio Giralt

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