Posts Tagged ‘Clemson University’

Heart Repair of the Future

November 11, 2009

Here are two articles you need to see – one is from August, about literally “building” a tooth from stem cells, and one from just a few days ago about The Stanford University School of Medicine and the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease working together to use stem cells to repair damaged heart muscle.

This is where cardiac research is going, though no one can predict how long it will take to get there. A lot of trials, most of them on animals, are being done to evaluate the usefulness of Stem Cells. Just the phrase stem cells generates controversy and starts a debate about the ethical use of Embryonic Stem Cells. Personally, I am opposed to the destruction of embryos to gather stem cells – but embryos are not the only source of embryonic stem cells. Cord blood, anyone?

And there may not be any need for controversy. It looks as if Adult Stem Cells work better, at least in heart muscle. But don’t go running to your doctor just yet, we’re still years away from this being useful.

And unfortunately there are still going to be cardiac surgeons and people with zippers for years to come: I doubt that we will ever totally eliminate the need for heart surgery, especially in CHDers. But through the use of artificial heart tissue (like the tissues that are being developed at Clemson University) and Stem Cells, I think Cardiac repair will be a lot different twenty years from now!

GO TIGERS!

November 2, 2009

Boy, I bet some of my close friends just fell out of their chairs. Clemson University (Home of the Tigers) are the arch-rivals of the team I support, the University of South Carolina. But it is only fair to give credit where credit is due: Clemson is going to be the home of a new research facility that will develop a center for Tissue Regeneration. Researchers from the University of South Carolina and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) will collaborate. The University has also landed a grant to study reconstructive breast surgery – using artificial tissue that is resistant to cancer!  Hopefully when that breast cancer raises its head for the second time, this new tissue will slap it right down!

Clemson’s Department of Bioengineering began in 1963 and has provided the building blocks for engineered knees, hips, tissue, and hearts. From what I understand (and I do not understand this science very well at all!) they take small samples of real tissue and grow it in a controlled environment. They can use artificial tissue as a “framework” to make it grow into a certain shape and/or enhance the growth rate in some fashion.

Perhaps the day will come when our weak hearts will contain a patch of bioengineered tissue that would make it strong again. And if that were my heart, I wouldn’t mind one bit if that patch had a little Tiger Paw logo on it somewhere!

GET CHECKED!

June 11, 2009

There is a new report out that could be a little frightening: If a person has a Bicuspid Aortic Valve (In other words, the Aortic Valve has two flaps instead of the normal three), that person’s close relatives need to have an examination. As many as 32% of them could have an enlarged Aorta.

An enlarged Aorta could turn into an Aortic Dissection, which is a fancy term meaning that the Aorta unravels. Clemson University swimmer Amy Moxie suffered an Aortic Dissection while jogging on campus; she collapsed and died a short time later.

Enlarged Aortas do not always lead to Aortic Dissection, and I’m not one to shout gloom and doom. But both conditions are almost undetectable, you usually have to actually be looking for them to notice something. (Aortic Dissection causes sudden severe pain in the chest or back, but by that time the Aorta has already torn.) So if you think you are susceptible, why not have the medical tests done and perhaps save your own life?

Sunday Night Links!

September 28, 2008

I think I have forgotten how to read a calendar: I thought for sure that this week, I had a Cardiologist’s appointment in Atlanta. It’s next week, October 8. I’ll be gone Tuesday and Wednesday, but I’m taking my laptop and I should be able to post. The date on your links might look a bit iffy, but they are not stale; and as of 10:22 PM EST 9/28/2008, everything works. It’s just been a busy week around here! Good information never goes stale!

Here’s a study of survival rates for the Bi-directional Glenn Shunt, the results look good. This study suggests the numbers can be even better!

A DNA test could change organ transplant procedures forever!

I’ve written about Electronic Medical Records before. Here are two articles by a Healthcare Chief Information Officer: Electronic prescriptions are going to be easier said than done, and there are just some personal health records that won’t be transmitted. Meanwhile, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston gives you one of these when you are discharged from their Cardiovascular Institute.

Here’s some local news: Clemson University researchers are working on heart valves. Clemson is right here in my home state, and although I support the Gamecocks, it’s great when the “other guys” do good, especially when it is something this important. Despite nasty rumors you might find on the internet, a Clemson heart valve does not make you want to shout “GO TIGERS!” on Saturday afternoons in the fall!