Small Molecule Makes Heart Cells Out of Stem Cells


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Small Molecule Makes Heart Cells Out of Stem Cells


San Diego, Calif., November 14, 2012 – Researchers at the Human BioMolecular Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), and ChemRegen, Inc. have created a small molecule that convert stem cells to heart cells. Writing November 6th in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, the team describes how they synthesized and tested ITD-1, a man-made, drug-like chemical that can be used to generate unlimited numbers of new heart cells from stem cells.

“Because heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, we need to effectively replace lost heart muscle cells—called cardiomyocytes,” said Mark Mercola, Ph.D., director of Sanford-Burnham’s Muscle Development and Regeneration Program and co-author of the study. “Using a small molecule to create new heart muscle cells from stem cells is very appealing.”


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The Human BioMolecular Research Institute (HBRI) is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit research institute doing basic research for the public good. HBRI was founded in December of 1997.The institute is located in the heart of biotech beach in a state-of-the-art 6,700 sq. ft. facility.

The research programs at HBRI are focused on unlocking biological and chemical principles related to diseases of the human brain.  Included in the areas of study are: Alzheimer’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, depression, neuroprotection, regenerative medicine, cardiovascular disease, cancer, drug and alcohol abuse, pain and smoking cessation.  The institute conducts fundamental studies of central nervous system disorders and translates findings into new drug development to address human illness.  In addition, the institute promotes scientific learning through community service and public access by disseminating information and sharing research with collaborators, colleagues and the public.

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