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     THI Chosen as Biorepository for
Nation's Cardiac Stem Cell Research Network

Houston, Texas (December 17, 2012) – Officials at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) announced today that THI has been chosen as the Biorepository Core Lab for the national network of cardiovascular stem cell research centers, the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN).

After review by an expert team of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the THI proposal was awarded the highest score and selected as the Biorepository Core Lab.

The Biorepository Core at THIAs the biorepository for the Network, THI would store, catalog and make available for approved research adult stem cells to laboratories throughout the nation.

“We are obviously excited about the prospects of this research, and our expanded role as the Core Lab,” said Dr. James T. Willerson, THI’s president and medical director and a principal investigator in THI’s stem cell research programs. “It is an honor and responsibility we gladly accept.”

The Biorepository Core, directed by Doris A. Taylor, PhD, Director of Regenerative Medicine Research at THI at St. Luke’s, and Adrian P. Gee, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, will store and characterize cells collected in CCTRN clinical trials. By conducting phenotype and cell function analyses in the context of clinical trials, the researchers at the Biorepository Core will aid in developing more effective stem cell therapies.

The CCTRN, established and funded by the NHLBI, is a network of physicians, scientists, and support staff dedicated to studying stem cell therapy for treating heart disease.  The goals of the Network are to complete research studies that will potentially lead to more effective treatments for patients with cardiovascular disease, and to share knowledge quickly with the healthcare community.

In addition to THI, Network members include the University of Louisville, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, the University of Florida in Gainesville, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Stanford University, and the Vascular and Cardiac Center for Adult Stem Cell Therapy in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The CCTRN Data Coordinating Center is located at The University of Texas School of Public Health Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials, which is part of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in the Texas Medical Center.

Learn more about stem cell research at Texas Heart Institute:   

For media inquiries please contact:
Director of Public Affairs
Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital
Frank Michel  ♦  832-355-9510  ♦

For THI and St. Luke's media profiles, see Public Affairs.

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