Department: Surgery, University of Toronto
We initiated our studies of cell transplantation to regenerate the heart after an extensive myocardial infarction in 1996. Our preclinical studies demonstrated impressive recovery of ventricular function. However, the initial clinical trials resulted in only modest improvements. We recently identified the mechanisms responsible for the age-related stem cell dysfunction and we are currently investigating alternative interventions to restore the cardiac regenerative capacity of older patients. In addition, we recently developed a technique to mature embryonic stem cell derived cardiomyocytes in a biodegradable scaffold to repair congenital heart defects. Finally, we have employed the extensive imaging capability at our institution to track stem cells in the heart.