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Melero-Martin Lab - Research

Endothelial Colony-Forming Cells (ECFCs)

ECFCs are progenitors of endothelial cells that circulate in peripheral blood. ECFCs have enormous potential in Regenerative Medicine because they can generate large amounts of autologous ECs for vascular therapies. We specialize in the biology of human ECFCs derived from umbilical cord blood and adult peripheral blood. We are currently studying several aspects of ECFCs:

  • Phenotypical and functional properties of ECFCs 
  • Methods for ECFC isolation 
  • ECFC levels in health and disease 
  • Therapeutic potential of ECFCs

Key publications

Human endothelial colony-forming cells serve as trophic mediators for mesenchymal stem cell engraftment via paracrine signaling
Lin RZ, Moreno-Luna R, Li D, Jaminet SCS, Greene AK, Melero-Martin JM.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2014; 111(28):10137-10142

In vivo vasculogenic potential of human blood-derived endothelial progenitor cells
Melero-Martin JM, Khan ZA, Picard A, Wu X, Paruchuri S, Bischoff J
Blood 2007; 109:4761-4768

Bioengineering Vascular Networks

Vascular networks are central to the functioning of most tissue. We use a two-cell approach to bioengineer human vascular networks in vivo. In our model, human blood-derived ECFCs are combined with human Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) in a biocompatible hydrogel and injected subcutaneously into immunodeficient mice where they form an organized vascular network that joins with the mouse vasculature. This model is ideally suited for studies on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of human vascular network formation and for developing strategies to vascularize tissues. VIDEO

Key publications

Transdermal regulation of vascular network bioengineering using a photopolymerizable methacrylated gelatin hydrogel
Lin RZ, Chen YC, Moreno-Luna R, Khademhosseini A, Melero-Martin JM
Biomaterials 2013; 34(28):6785-96

Engineering robust and functional vascular networks in vivo with human adult and cord blood-derived progenitor cells
Melero-Martin JM, De Obaldia ME, Kang S-Y, Khan ZA, Yuan L, Oettgen P, Bischoff J
Circ Res 2008; 103:194-202

Genetically-Engineered Vasculature for Protein Drug Delivery 

The ability to bioengineer vasculature creates the possibility to introduce additional instructions into tissues by genetically modifying the endothelial cells that will actually build these blood vessels. We are developing models that use genetically-engineered ECFCs to achieve controlled administration of therapeutic proteins in vivo.

Key publications

Induction of erythropoiesis using human vascular networks genetically-engineered for controlled erythropoietin release
Lin RZ, Dreyzin A, Aamodt K, Li D, Jaminet SC, Dudley AC, Melero-Martin JM
Blood 2011; 118(20):5420-8

Adventures in gene therapy: Getting your own blood vessels to make drugs
June 18, 2014. Juan Melero-Martin, VECTOR blog

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