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A change of heart?

Press release issued: 30 November 2011

Academics from the Bristol Heart Institute will discuss the emergence of regenerative medicine in modern medical care at a public lecture this Friday [December 2].

Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease affect millions of people each year but through groundbreaking research could become a thing of the past.  A University of Bristol public lecture this week will focus on the emergence of regenerative medicine in modern medical care.

Academics from the Bristol Heart Institute will discuss what the prospects are for rebuilding heart tissue to repair the damage caused by a heart attack and explore whether it will, one day, become a standard procedure.

The public lecture entitled, A change of heart? will take place at 6 pm on Friday, December 2 in the Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Clifton, Bristol.  It is free and open to everyone.   The lecture has been organised by the Bristol Heart Institute and is supported by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The talk will feature three different perspectives on regenerative medicine:

Paolo Madeddu, Professor of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine and a leading researcher studying stem cells and the science behind regenerative medicine, will explain the research being conducted in the Bristol Heart Institute that underpins this revolutionary medical technique.

Bone marrow stem cells and other stem cells in the body are now used for cell therapy.  Professor Madeddu will discuss new research on the transplantation of stem cells that reside in human veins and how this new treatment could restore blood flow to a limb and help in the recovery of a heart attack.

Chair of Cardiac Surgery and Translational Research, Professor Raimondo Ascione is the chief investigator on one of the world’s first ongoing double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial into the use of stem cells to aid heart repair during bypass surgery.

Two of the heart attack patients enrolled in this Bristol-based clinical trial, who had their surgery at the Bristol Heart Institute part of University Hospitals Bristol, will describe their experience of carrying out such a critical role for advancing medical research.

Professor Madeddu said: “Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease affect millions of people each year and we hope with the groundbreaking research that is taking place it will one day become a thing of the past.”

Professor Ascione added: “Members of the public will learn how regenerative medicine is being translated for use in the clinic and how stem cell science might revolutionise modern medicine in years to come.”

This year’s public lecture complements the BHF’s ‘Mending Broken Hearts’ campaign, which is raising money for research to improve recovery after a heart attack.


Further information

TransACT clinical trial

In 2007, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) awarded Professor Ascione, over £200,000 for one of the world’s first clinical trial, TransACT, to test whether bone marrow derived CD133+ stem cells can repair heart muscle cells damaged by a heart attack. Recently, funding for the trial has been extended to 2013.

The double blind placebo-controlled trial has successfully recruited over 50 per cent of its patients with no safety concerns. Under Professor Ascione’s leadership, 33 out of 60 patients, who have suffered a major heart attack, have been injected to date at the Bristol Heart Institute with stem cells from their own bone marrow or a placebo into their damaged hearts during routine coronary bypass surgery.

The University will make every effort to provide disabled access, where possible, to all of its events. For any support requirements due to a disability, please contact the event co-ordinator in the University’s Public and Ceremonial Events Office, Nicola Fry on +44 (0)117 928 8515 or email directly at the earliest opportunity.

The Bristol Heart Institute (BHI) was founded in 1995 and, based on its success, has expanded substantially.

The BHI consists of over 200 researchers and clinicians, located in the University of Bristol and across Bristol NHS Trusts, who are united in the mission to translate basic scientific research into novel clinical practice thereby improving patient outcome and care. It brings together internationally respected experts from many disciplines of cardiovascular science and disease. Indeed, the BHI is now an internationally recognised centre of excellence for performing interdisciplinary cardiovascular research that takes basic science discoveries into the clinic.

As well as improving collaboration between scientists and clinicians within the BHI, and improving medical treatment of cardiovascular diseases, it also aims to communicate its research findings to the public.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the nation’s heart charity, dedicated to saving lives through pioneering research, patient care, campaigning for change and by providing vital information. But we urgently need help. We rely on donations of time and money to continue our life-saving work. Because together we can beat heart disease.

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