Our major interest is to use stem cell technology to treat various cardiovascular diseases.

Stem Cells

• We develop and use different stem or progenitor cells for cardiovascular repair

1) Pluripotent stem cells

  • Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells
  • Embryonic stem (ES) cells

2) Bone marrow or peripheral-derived stem or progenitor cells

  • Endothelial stem cells
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Bone marrow-derived multipotent stem cells (BMSC)
  • CD31+ cells
  • Hematopoietic stem cells

• Target diseases

  • Cardiac diseases: Myocardial infarction, chronic heart failure
  • Peripheral vascular disease; PAOD (peripheral artery obstructive disease) etc
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Lymphedema
  • Wound (wound healing)

• We investigate in vitro differentiation of pluripotent stem cells

  • Differentiate into endothelial cells, cardiomyocytes, lymphatic vessels
  • Therapeutic potential in the target diseases

• We recently started to combine technologies of biomaterial and stem cells for cardiac repair

  • Mechanistically, we are interested in angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, and cardiomyogenesis

Diabetes related research

• We work on the role of angiogenesis in diabetic complications such as heart failure, PAOD and diabetic neuropathy

• We investigate functional defects of stem or progenitor cells in diabetes

  • Currently we are studying ROS-related targets

• We are developing a strategy to rescue this impairment

Research achievements

  • First demonstration of successful gene therapy with VEGF-C for treating secondary lymphedema (Yoon et al., J Clin Invest,2003)
  • Role of VEGF and EPCs in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy (Yoon et al., Circulation, 2005)
  • First demonstration of side effects (calcification) of infarcted myocardium treated with unfractionated bone marrow cells (Yoon et al., Circulation, 2004)
  • Development of novel bone marrow-derived stem cells and demonstration of successful therapeutic effects in myocardial infarction (Yoon et al., J Clin Invest, 2005)
  • Role of host cells in therapeutic effects of adult stem cells (Cho et al., J Exp Med, 2007)
  • First demonstration of bone marrow-derived EPCs engraft diabetic nerves and improve nerve function in diabetic neuropathy. First demonstration of robust long-term (more than 12 weeks) of adult progenitor cells in diabetic tissues(Jeong et al., Circulation, 2009)
  • First demonstration that CD31+ cells derived from bone marrow and peripheral blood have robust neovascularization effects and highly effective for treating cardiovascular disease (Kim et al., J Am Coll Cardiol, 2010; Kim et al., Circ Res, 2010)