Stem cell therapy has shown encouraging initial results in treating heart disease, yet is plagued by poor long-term efficacy because of rapid cell death after implant. This is attributed to two fundamental challenges—1) ischemia and inflammation in the treated area and 2) mis-injection or implant into highly fibrotic tissue. Because of these barriers, less than 2% of implanted stem cells remain viable after 4-8 weeks with cells mis-injected in 50% of patients.
We are developing nanoparticle tools that can solve both of these major limitations. These tools offer real time imaging of stem cell delivery via ultrasound, high resolution MRI for confirmation, and also serve as a long term reservoir of pro-survival agents to increase cell viability.