Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog

May 11th, 2017

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Collaboration: Bringing Innovative Cell-Based Therapies to Patients

By Angela Bingham

Mayo Clinic’s Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently announced a collaboration to delay and prevent heart failure from HLHS, a rare and complex form of congenital heart disease in which the left side of a child's heart is severely underdeveloped.

The collaboration is part of a consortium across the nation and will allow for a decrease in the amount of time from research and discovery to the clinical application of innovative cell-based therapies. The consortium aligns regional centers into a nationwide collaboration led by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for HLHS at Mayo Clinic to accelerate innovation on hypoplastic left heart syndrome, discovery sciences, and clinical expertise by investing local resources back into research. The program seeks to work with five to seven regional centers across the U.S. to fund the development of cell-based innovative research opportunities to transform the lives of people living with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

“By entering into this collaboration, we are making it possible for all children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to be able to participate in cell-based treatments, no matter their location,” says Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director, Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Today, standard treatment for people with HLHS 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 risk of needing a heart transplant later.

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.

To learn more, visit the Mayo Clinic’s Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome website or read the news release announcing the collaboration.

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This post originally appeared on the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine blog.

Tags: About, Center for Regenerative Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, HLHS, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Innovations, pediatric heart transplant, stem cells, Timothy Nelson, Todd and Karen Wanek

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