The University of Louisville/Jewish Hospital has a remarkably vibrant basic and clinical research program in cardiovascular medicine, particularly in the area of stem cells and patients with heart failure (HF), left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), and ischemic cardiomyopathy. A highly cohesive and collegial team of investigators from the Divisions of Cardiovascular Medicine and Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery has worked productively for many years in several multicenter trials, with outstanding performance. This existing clinical infrastructure, coupled with the strong preclinical research work conducted on cell-based therapies for several years, provides a superb platform for participation in the CCTRN as a Regional Clinical Center. The ability of our Center to carry out Phase l/ll studies of stem cells is exemplified by our success i performing the first in-human study of c-kit+ cardiac stem cells in patients with HF (SCIPIO). The same investigators and the infrastructure that made SCIPIO possible will be leveraged for the CCTRN studies. Here we propose SENECA (StEm cell treatmeNt for End stage CArdiac failure), in which we will test the feasibility and safety (Aim 1) and efficacy (Aim 2) of intracoronary delivery of CD34+ cells or very small embryonic-like cells (VSELs) to patients with end-stage ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) following implantation of an LVAD. Our hypothesis is that cell therapy will promote repair and regeneration of the injured myocardium, resulting in improved cardiac function, functional capacity, and overall quality of life, and recovery of myocardial function to a degree that permits consideration of LVAD explantation.
In Aim 3, we will identify patient characteristics and in vitro parameters of stem cell function that are associated with effectiveness (or lack thereof) of CD34+ cells and VSELs in improving LV function in vivo. SENECA will be the first study of VSELs in humans and the first controlled trial to test the effects of CD34+ cells in end-stage ischemic HF. Therefore, the results will be entirely novel and may provide a new option for patients who currently have a dismal prognosis. Thus, the potential impact of SENECA is considerable. No cell therapy study has ever been reported before in patients with LVADs and ICM, although these are the very patients who need it the most. Therefore, SENECA will address a major therapeutic gap in the management of cardiac patients. This trial has the potential to provide a novel clinical breakthrough in the treatment of end-stage ischemic heart disease.

Public Health Relevance

We have conducted preclinical studies of stem cells for several years. In 2009, we started SCIPIO, the first in-human study of c-kit+ cardiac stem cells, and one that demonstrates the ability of our Center to carry out Phase l/ll studies of cell therapy in humans effectively and successfully. This application builds on SCIPIO and on the superb program in advanced heart failure at Jewish Hospital. The results may pave the way for the use of novel cell-based therapies (CD34+cells and/or VSELs) in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project with Complex Structure Cooperative Agreement (UM1)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-CSR-O (F2))
Program Officer
Ebert, Ray F
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Louisville
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Lindsey, Merry L; Bolli, Roberto; Canty Jr, John M et al. (2018) Guidelines for experimental models of myocardial ischemia and infarction. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 314:H812-H838
Wysoczynski, Marcin; Khan, Abdur; Bolli, Roberto (2018) New Paradigms in Cell Therapy: Repeated Dosing, Intravenous Delivery, Immunomodulatory Actions, and New Cell Types. Circ Res 123:138-158
Bolli, Roberto; Hare, Joshua (2018) Introduction to a Compendium on Regenerative Cardiology. Circ Res 123:129-131
Mehra, Parul; Guo, Yiru; Nong, Yibing et al. (2018) Cardiac mesenchymal cells from diabetic mice are ineffective for cell therapy-mediated myocardial repair. Basic Res Cardiol 113:46
Bolli, Roberto; Ghafghazi, Shahab (2017) Stem cells: Cell therapy for cardiac repair: what is needed to move forward? Nat Rev Cardiol 14:257-258
Eschenhagen, Thomas; Bolli, Roberto; Braun, Thomas et al. (2017) Cardiomyocyte Regeneration: A Consensus Statement. Circulation 136:680-686
Bolli, Roberto (2017) Repeated Cell Therapy: A Paradigm Shift Whose Time Has Come. Circ Res 120:1072-1074
Fernández-Avilés, Francisco; Sanz-Ruiz, Ricardo; Climent, Andreu M et al. (2017) Global position paper on cardiovascular regenerative medicine. Eur Heart J 38:2532-2546
Guo, Yiru; Wysoczynski, Marcin; Nong, Yibing et al. (2017) Repeated doses of cardiac mesenchymal cells are therapeutically superior to a single dose in mice with old myocardial infarction. Basic Res Cardiol 112:18
Wysoczynski, Marcin; Guo, Yiru; Moore 4th, Joseph B et al. (2017) Myocardial Reparative Properties of Cardiac Mesenchymal Cells Isolated on the Basis of Adherence. J Am Coll Cardiol 69:1824-1838

Showing the most recent 10 out of 24 publications