University Medical Center Utrecht , the NETHERLANDS

Tuesday, 8 November 2022 | 12:00 noon – ICGEB Trieste, ITALY

Advancing cellular therapeutics for myocardial repair- from bioprinting to cellular secretions

Host: S. Zacchigna

Joost Sluijter is Professor of Cellular and Translational Cardiology and got his PhD in 2004 at the University Utrecht on“Collagen turnover in arterial disease”. After being a postdoctoral research fellow at Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI), he returned to the University Medical Centre Utrecht (the Netherlands) in 2006. The Sluijter lab is a multi-disciplinary research team that focuses on stimulating cardiac repair upon myocardial damage. With technologies, ranging from molecular insights, advanced multi-cellular cell models, and clinically relevant animal models, they try to understand the pathophysiologic mechanisms, enhance delivery technologies and stimulate the heart towards a more regenerative state.

Although major steps have been made in Cardiology to help patients with acute myocardial problems, we are currently facing new burdens of chronic failing hearts for which no curative solutions are available. Cardiac cell therapy is suggested as a regenerative approach to help the damaged myocardium. However, direct injections of cells into the myocardium suffers from limitations related to poor engraftment. Tissue engineering is emerging as a potential therapeutic approach to overcome limitations of cell therapy. Tissue printing technology offers the possibility to deliver, in a defined and organized manner, scaffolding materials and living cells. In our studies, we aim to develop myocardial tissues for patch application or direct injections to obtain constructs with cardiogenic potential for in vitro use or in vivo application. Furthermore, in addition to improved cell retentions via tissue engineering many observed functional effects in the heart have been caused by paracrine secretions of the injected progenitor cells. We belief therefore that we can recondition heart failure by stimulating cardiac repair with extracellular vesicles that are derived from progenitor cells. In my laboratory, extracellular released vesicles containing a cocktail of stimulating factors, are amongst the most potent vectors for cardiac repair. Today, I will provide our latest insights in developing effective and translational approaches of cellular therapeutics to enhance myocardial performance.


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