The focus of my lab is on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cardiac ischemic injury and its prevention by using preconditioning mimetics and myocardial regeneration by STEM cells. These are tantalizing and exciting strategies which have shown promise in experimental animal studies as well as clinical trials. Although having divergent mechanisms of action, the preconditioning approaches enhance the resistance of cardiomyocytes as well as transplanted stem cells to the ischemic damage. Furthermore, the engrafted stem cells supplement for the cardiomyocyte loss by regeneration and releasing paracrine factors and exosomes. My lab has extensively used stem cells derived from bone marrow, heart, myoblasts as is evident from my publications and NIH support. Since 2010, I have shifted my research focus on induced pluripotent stem cells for the treatment of myocardial infarction and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This approach exploits the novelty of cell regeneration by iPSC derived cardiac/skeletal muscle progenitors (CPCs) induced by specific cardiogenic small molecules. These CPCs grow profusely into cardiac lineage cells. These effects are further accelerated by combining CPCs with their secreted exosomes for proliferation, engraftment, anti-apoptosis and anti -fibrosis effects. These are innovative approaches which will allow to generate autologous and patient specific iPS cells and their derivatives for individualized cell therapy. I believe that new approaches and directions adopted in my current research will have major impact on the clinical application of cardiac progenitors for the treatment of cardiovascular and skeletal muscle diseases.
Wanling Xuan, MD, PhD
Assistant Research Scientist