The research of the Westenfelder laboratory is focused on:  

  1. The translation of pre-clinical, stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and Type I Diabetes mellitus. Based on extensive pre-clinical studies, a successful Phase I Clinical Trial (NCT00733876) was completed in 2013, showing that the administration of allogeneic, bone marrow-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) to on-pump cardiac surgery patients at high risk for post-operative AKI (due to underlying CKD, diabetes mellitus, age > 60 years,  hypertension, congestive heart failure and on-pump times > 2 hours) was safe and feasible,  prevented the post-operative development of AKI (vs. historical controls), shortened the length of hospital stay, reduced the post discharge readmission rates, and importantly, prevented the development and progression of CKD vs. well matched historical controls. A Phase II Efficacy Trial (double blind, randomized, controlled) of this patented technology is currently enrolling study subjects, having received fast track approval from the FDA, at 34 study sites in  the US and Canada. This laboratory collaborates closely with stem cell investigators at the University of Hamburg, Germany.

  2. The full development of a novel, stem cell-based and patented  technology that shows that Type I Diabetes mellitus can be cured in experimental animal.

  3. The non-hematopoietic roles of erythropoietin (EPO) in the protection of the acutely and chronically injured kidney and on a novel oral therapy that allows oxygen- and hematocrit-independent up-regulation in the kidney, patented technologies.

Dr. Westenfelder is Professor of Medicine, Chief, Section of Nephrology, George E. Wahlen Health Sciences Center, with many years of research experience in Comparative Physiology, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology.