The Minnesota Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Clinical Research Network (MnCTN) is ideally suited to promote the evaluation of novel cell therapy strategies for individuals with cardiovascular disease. MnCTN will consist of the consortium of four Minneapolis cutting-edge cardiovascular institutions and the Minnesota Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (part of the NHLBI-sponsored Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies (PACT) group). The MnCTN is critically important to the mission of the NIH, and the institutions in this application, all of which aim to improve patients'health and save lives, as it provides a unique opportunity to translate basic science of cell therapies into clinical research evaluating the potential of cell therapies as an alternative strategy to halt cardiovascular disease progression and improve patients'outcomes. The institutions of MnCTN have nationally recognized expertise with large clinical patient populations that have unmet treatment need and a high likelihood of benefit from cellular therapy (e.g., acute myocardial infarction, refractory angina, and end-stage heart failure, including patients with left ventricular assist devices). We have an outstanding track record of high enrollment and high quality data in multicenter trials in these areas, including 11 recently completed and/or ongoing cardiovascular cellular therapy clinical trials. Our extensive experience has built expertise in trial design, patient selection, delivery techniques, and endpoint measurements including state-of-the-art imaging and surrogate endpoints. We have the distinct advantage of being one of three PACT institutions, which promotes establishment of standards and application of good manufacturing and clinical practices to the research process. With the infrastructure under this RFA, our expertise will greatly enhance the success of cell therapy protocols at other sites selected to carry out clinical trials. The clinical application of cellular therapies is built on a longstanding success of basic science at the UMN Center for Cardiovascular Repair and the Stem Cell Institute. Such approach, under the structure of this RFA, will generate scientific knowledge and address clinically relevant questions on mechanisms of cell therapies and effects on cardiovascular disease. Using the clinical sites and resources under this RFA, we will establish a bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell repository, which will be used to identify and characterize the best suitable cells, as well as the future responders to therapy. We believe we are perfectly suited to play an important role in the NHLBI cardiovascular cell therapy research network, capitalizing on our basic research skills, abilities to conduct multi-center clinical trials within an integrative network, and to disseminate knowledge.
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