S Sinha photo

Dr Sanjay Sinha

Vascular diseases

Email: ss661@camac.uk

Laboratory Location:

Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine, Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Departmental Affiliation:

Department of Medicine

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Whole mount confocal image of embryonic chick heart showing epicardium and the localisation of injected hESC-derived epicardial cells (red and green) to their developmental niche (Credit Gambardella and Iyer)


My lab's overall aim is to develop new treatments for vascular diseases, in particular those involving vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC), using a stem cell based approach.

We have pioneered the generation of embryonic lineage-specific vascular SMC, through the lateral mesoderm, paraxial mesoderm, neural crest and epicardium, from human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells, using chemically defined conditions. We have utilised this system to model genetically triggered aortopathies, such as Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndromes. These "disease-in-a-dish" models are being used to understand the pathobiology of these conditions and to screen for new treatments.

Additionally we are testing the regenerative potential of hESC-derived epicardium and other cardiovascular cell types for heart repair after myocardial infarction, either through direct injection or in the form of an in vitro generated myocardial "patch".

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Plain English

Blood vessel diseases cause heart attacks, strokes and aortic aneurysms (a ballooning then tearing of the main artery in the body). We use human stem cells to generate smooth muscle cells, one of the main cell types that make up the blood vessel wall. If we use skin cells from patients with vascular diseases to make stem cells then the smooth muscle cells from those (induced) stem cells will have the same abnormalities as in the patient, thus providing a way to generate a “disease-in-a-dish”. With these and other approaches we are trying to understand how blood vessels become diseased and trying to find new treatments for these diseases. We are also developing ways to transplant our stem cell generated cells to reverse the damage caused by a heart attack.

Key Publications

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