Stem cells represent a novel approach to organ repair. Critical to this delivery system is the ability of these cells to integrate into tissues via gap junctions. Brink's lab demonstrated that human mesenchymal stem cells can deliver a pacemaker gene creating a biological pacemaker in the canine heart by forming gap junctions. Their research efforts, which include electrical and mechanical repair of the heart as well as cancer therapy, focus on this cell-to-cell communication. Besides mesenchymal stem cells, Brink is studying cardiac stem cells, and through recent collaborations, amniotic stem cells and human embryonic stem cells as well.
Rosen, M.R., Brink, P.R., Cohen, I.S., Robinson, R.B. (2008). The utility of mesenchymal stem cells as biological pacemakers. Congest Heart Fail. 2008 May-Jun; 14(3): 153-6.
Rosen, M.R., Brink, P.R., Cohen, I.S., Danilo, P. Jr., Robinson, R.B., Rosen, A.B., Szabolcs, M.J. (2008). Regenerative therapies in electrophysiology and pacing. J Interv Card Electrophysiol. 2008 Aug; 22(2): 87-98. Epub 2008 Mar 25.
Potapova, I.A., Brink, P.R., Cohen, I.S., Doronin, S.V. (2008). Culturing of human mesenchymal stem cells as three-dimensional aggregates induces functional expression of CXCR4 that regulates adhesion to endothelial cells. J Biol Chem. 2008 May 9; 283(19): 13100-7. Epub 2008 Mar 10.