Mayo Clinic Using Regenerative Medicine to Find Answers for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

At Mayo Clinic, nearly 60 physicians, scientists and other experts are working collaboratively to find and apply innovative solutions for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) as part of the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program. With HLHS, a rare and complex congenital heart defect, the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. The current treatment for HLHS typically involves a series of three open heart surgeries and eventually transplantation. The goal of the Mayo HLHS program is to invent and discover new, regenerative, stem-cell-based therapies to rebuild HLHS hearts, making them bigger, better and stronger in order to delay or even prevent the need for transplantation. To better understand and treat HLHS, the Mayo team is taking a multifaceted approach that includes research into imaging and outcomes, human genetics, and regenerative strategies, as well as the creation of an annotated biorepository. The team hopes that by understanding the problem, they will then be able to engineer a solution. Currently, Mayo Clinic has a clinical trial for HLHS patients in which umbilical cord blood is collected at birth, processed, and delivered into the heart muscle during one of the patient’s open heart surgeries. In this video, Tim Nelson, MD, PhD, director of the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program, gives an overview of HLHS, the Mayo research program, and the current HLHS clinical trial. Learn more:


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