"From Stem Cell Biology to Regenerative Medicine for Congenital Heart Disease"
Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., presented at CCaTS Grand Rounds on November 20, 2015
Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. discussed the team centered approach that the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) has used to achieve the success that they have. The current standard treatment for people with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), which includes a three-stage surgery that enables the right ventricle to pump blood to the entire body. Though effective, these surgeries are palliative and do not eliminate the person's risk of needing a heart transplant later. And because the right ventricle was never meant to support the entire body, the strain imposed can lead to declines in pumping ability over time.
Regenerative medicine strategies for HLHS have the potential to provide an alternative to heart transplantation. Using stem cells of different types and from various sources — including cells from the patient's own body — regenerative therapies for HLHS could replace, rejuvenate or regenerate defective tissues, leaving new, healthy tissues in their place.
Such approaches could restore the pumping ability of the right ventricle once it begins to decline or perhaps prevent the decline altogether, eliminating the need for a future heart transplant.