Information for Patients About Cardiovascular Research at the University of Washington

While the Center for Cardiovascular Biology has practicing physicians among its members, the center itself does not offer patient services or enroll patients in clinical trials.

If you need to make a clinical appointment, visit the UW Medicine Heart Institute.

Please know that you have allies right now working hard on new treatments for patients experiencing heart problems. Propelled by advances in cell biology, bioengineering, and regenerative medicine, our researchers are taking significant steps forward in our labs. Indeed, we believe that discoveries being made today will revolutionize the way doctors prevent, diagnose, and treat heart disease, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions. Here are three examples of recent breakthroughs that could soon have real-world applications for patients.

Cell Therapy

In 2018, a study led by ISCRM Director Dr. Charles Murry demonstrated that stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes could be used to regenerate heart tissue in large primates, a major step toward human clinical trials, which are expected to begin as soon as 2023. The goal is to develop a treatment that could be given to people shortly after a heart attack to prevent heart failure. The transplanted stem cells would also be genetically altered to reduce the risk of immune rejection, which often complicates organ transplantation. Read more here.

Diagnosing Strokes

In 2021, a study by led by Patrick Boyle, PhD and Nazem Akoum, MD shed light on the reasons some people who have a stroke do not also have abnormal heart rhythms, even though their hearts contain similar scar tissue. In the investigation, the team used computer models to find that some stroke patients harbor heart scar tissue that’s primed for abnormal rhythms, suggesting they may benefit from additional preventative treatment. The ultimate goal is to improve patient outcomes by better integrating computational modelling into decisions made at the point of care. Read more here.

Disease Modeling

Researchers and clinicians affiliated with the Center for Cardiovascular Biology are at the center of several efforts to use stem cell technology to study how heart disease occurs and to develop new strategies for treating patients. In one investigation, Farid Moussavi-Harami, MD and Jen Davis, PhD used induced pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) to demonstrate a correlation between the severity of the disease and the degree of tension during cardiac twitches. Their findings will help scientists better understand how to target and control the mechanisms underlying DCM that often lead to heart failure. In another study, led by Kai-Chun (Daniel) Yang, MD and Chuck Murry, MD, PhD, a research team used patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells from a single family to study how certain genetic mutations contribute to systolic heart failure, employing a method that could be used for faster screening in clinics. 

A Cautionary Note

You may read about stem cell clinics promising treatments and cures for many chronic ailments. It’s important to be aware that bone marrow transplant remains the only FDA approved stem cell treatment. We urge you to exercise extreme caution when considering undergoing any treatment or enrolling in any trial. For a list of FDA approved clinical trials, please visit