The goal of the research program in which I participate is to restore normal cardiac function to patients with cardiac diseases. In the laboratory, we discovered that injecting stem cells into the cardiac region injured by a heart attack improved function and prevented death from heart failure. We then performed a series of clinical trials and found that the benefits in patients were not as good as in experimental models. Older patients have diminished stem cell function and we found that bone marrow transplantation restored the ability of stem cells to repair the heart after injury.
- Cell TransplantationOver the last ten years, we have carefully evaluated alternative techniques to regenerate the heart after injury. We employed heart cells and adult bone marrow stem cells to regenerate the heart. We also investigated techniques to induce angiogenesis for patients who are unable to have conventional coronary bypass surgery. Finally, we have developed techniques to replace portions of the heart with tissue-engineered autologous cell-seeded grafts.
- Myocardial ProtectionWe have evaluated adenosine, insulin and L-arginine as agents which protect the myocardium from ischemic and reperfusion injury. We have performed studies in cell cultures, small and large animals and in patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery.
- Vascular BiologyWe evaluated a variety of agents which will prevent intimal hyperplasia and restore normal endothelial function after coronary interventions.
Emerita/Emeritus Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI)
Professor of Cardiac Surgery, University of Toronto