Dr. Galiñanes worked as a cardiac surgeon and senior investigator from 1987 to 2010 in two United Kingdom University Hospitals; first at the University Hospitals of Guy’ and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, London and later at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester. During this period, he obtained a great experience in the molecular basics of cardioprotective treatments and reparative therapies of the heart. For the last 6 years, Dr. Galiñanes’ research has continued in these areas, and in their translation to clinical use. Dr. Galiñanes has been one of the first researchers in using autologous Bone Marrow Cells (BMCs) for the repair of chronically ischemic heart in patients, describing that BMCs have a potent anti-ischemic effect mediated by protein kinase C (PKC) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK). Dr. Galiñanes’ group has extensively studied the mechanisms of action involved in the cardioprotective effect of BMCs in the ischemic myocardium in patients, showing to be as potent as ischemic preconditioning. Since 2009, Dr. Galiñanes has focused on the study of the recently discovered cardiac stem cells (CSCs) and its potential in cardiac repair after myocardial infarction. Pre-clinical studies in pig models showed that the administration of growth factors to CSCs improves cardiomyocyte survival and reduces fibrosis and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, fostering the generation of new myocardium in infarcted regions. The articles published by Dr. Galiñanes in the last five years evidence the great experience of his research group in the investigation of the potential effects of stem cells on myocardium in a wide range of animal models.
Dr Galiñanes’ group has also made important contributions to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying ischemia-induced myocardial injury of the mammalian myocardium and how the damage can be reversed. Thus, the role of molecules such as PKB, p38MAPK, neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and the mitochondrial processes involved in ischemia, reoxygenation and ischemic preconditioning, have been evaluated in the human myocardium. In addition, Dr. Galiñanes has a large clinical research background, which evidences his interest in translational medicine. This is reflected by the fact that he was the first in the United Kingdom and one of the first in the world to test the utility of autologous BMCs to improve contractility of non-viable myocardium and also to evaluate their paracrine cardioprotective action in patients undergoing surgical myocardial revascularization.
In 2010, Dr. Galiñanes became head of cardiac surgery at the Universitiy Hospital Vall d’Hebron in Barcelona, and established the “Reparative Therapy of the Heart” research group. His group has two main research lines. One, the understanding of the mechanisms of ischemic injury and protection in the human myocardium as an extention of the studies carried out in his laboratory at the United Kingdom. To performer this linea, an in vitro model of ischemia/reoxygenation using right atrial appendage tissue obtained during cardiac surgery, and previously characterized in his laboratory, is being used to unravel the effects of different cardiac and systemic diseases, as well as the effect of the medication received, on the tolerance of the myocardium to ischemic injury and its capacity to defend itself from the damage. The other research line consists in the development of new strategies to repair the damaged myocardium. A 3D engineered heart tissue (EHTs) model from neonatal rat hearts is particularly relevant to investigate the mechanisms of proliferation and differentiation of stem and progenitor cells. In vivo models of acute and chronic ischemia in mice, rats and pigs are also used to further define the molecular basis of tissue repair/regeneration in more complex biological systems and to carry out preclinical studies for the testing of novel therapies.
A main aim of Dr Galiñanes is the clinical applicability and exploitation of laboratory research. His laboratory is linked to several other laboratories nationally and internationally to collaborate in laboratory and clinical studies and to take advantage of the multidisciplinary approach. Hence, Dr. Galiñanes has participated in two highly relevant European projects. In 2009 he became part of the Cardio Repair European Multidisciplinary Initiative (CARE-MI) consortium, which main objective is to develop broadly available and clinically applicable treatments for ischemic heart disease by exploiting the biology of CSCs and the molecular mechanisms responsible for their activation and differentiation in situ. Since 2011, he also participates in the BAMI trial, focused on the study of the effect of intracoronary reinfusion of bone marrow derived mononuclear cells (BM-MNC) in acute myocardial infarction Since 2013, Galiñanes´ group is participating in the European project: “Defining the role of xeno-directed and autoimmune events in patients receiving animal-derived bioprosthetic heart valves”-TRANSLINK. These projects evidence Dr. Galiñanes’ involvement in translational regenerative cardiovascular medicine, and his interest in the potential of stem cells in myocardial regeneration.