The NIH funded the original grant at $11.7 million in 2006. Under the project, “Protection of Ischemic Myocardium,” Bolli is:

  • Investigating how introducing genes into stem cells might improve stem cell therapies
  • Looking at how diabetes affects stem cells
  • Looking at how cytokines – a class of proteins – affect stem cells during heart failure
  • Investigating the signaling pathways of stem cells in the body

This is only one stem cell study Bolli and his team are conducting.

Bolli, director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine, also is leading research into the use of a person’s own stem cells in regenerating dead heart muscle after a heart attack.

Fifteen patients are participating in the study. Five are at or nearing completion. All of the participants have shown improvement, such as increased blood pumping through the lower chambers of the heart and increased physical stamina.

Since Bolli came to UofL in 1994, he and his team have brought in more than $100 million in NIH grants.