Could regenerative cells called EPCs help repair blood vessels?

Identification and characterisation of a vessel wall endothelial progenitor cell, and its potential for vascular regeneration  

Mairi Brittan (lead researcher)

Edinburgh, University of

Start date: 01 October 2016 (Duration 4 years)

BHF Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellow Dr Mairi Brittan is studying regenerative cells, called endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), to find out if they could be used to treat heart and circulatory disease. In heart and circulatory disease, endothelial cells lining blood vessels can become damaged. EPCs may be able to repair damaged blood vessels and build new blood vessels. But we don’t fully understand where these cells originate, their molecular and genetic profile, what they do, or how they keep blood vessels healthy. Dr Brittan has discovered that EPCs might originate in the adult blood vessel wall. In this project, she will use new strategies to identify and define these EPCs, and will investigate what distinguishes them from mature endothelial cells and other cell types. She will also study how EPCs behave in health and in disease and how they contribute to blood vessel regeneration. Dr Brittan hopes she will identify markers on the cell surface that control EPC functions and can be used to isolate and further understand EPCs. EPCs have the potential to treat people with heart and circulatory disease, but we know little about them. This research to identify and characterise these cells within the blood vessel wall could lead to clinical studies testing if EPCs can repair blood vessels.

Project details

Grant amount £509,278
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship
Start Date 01 October 2016
Duration 4 years
Reference FS/16/4/31831
Status In progress

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