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Results tagged “Innovators at Heart”

A chance meeting with a U cardiologist likely saved Rick Christensen from a burst aortic aneurysm.

Fate works in funny ways. Just ask Rick Christensen, who learned he had a life-threatening aortic aneurysm after a chance meeting in 2012 with University of Minnesota Health cardiologist S. Kimara March, M.D.


Your annual gifts to support the University of Minnesota make a real difference to patients and their families. Did you know that you can continue to make a difference after your lifetime by including the University of Minnesota Foundation in your estate plan?


Tens of thousands of Minnesotans soon could be asking this question: Can a daily low-dose aspirin prevent a heart attack or stroke for me?

A “fibrin patch” made in the lab of Jianyi Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., may help improve the effectiveness of stem cell therapies for the heart. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Stem cell therapy has been a hot topic in cardiovascular sciences for more than a decade. The theory is that if doctors can successfully introduce stem cells--unspecialized cells that have the remarkable ability to become different types of specialized cells as they grow—to areas of heart muscle that have been injured during a heart attack, the damage could be repaired.

Cardiologist Greg Helmer, M.D., is leading a new clinical study to evaluate a device's potential to prevent the need for open-heart surgery in some people who have aortic stenosis. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Before a new drug or medical device can be made available to patients, it must go through lengthy and stringent testing through a clinical trial to make sure it's safe and effective. While these studies do carry some risk, they offer access to tomorrow's treatments right now. And the Lillehei Clinical Research Unit is there to make sure it's a safe process for participants and a smooth one for investigators.


The latest issue of Innovators at Heart is now available in print and online.

(Photo: Phil Ladisa)

At the University of Minnesota Medical Center today, the lung transplant waiting list is half the length it was six months ago, thanks in part to a new technology that's making more donated lungs worthy of transplantation. "For some patients, that is the difference between life and death," says U assistant professor of surgery and cardiothoracic surgeon Gabriel Loor, M.D.

Tom Anderson’s most vivid memories of campus are of walking across the Washington Avenue bridge with his mother while he was recovering from a risky open-heart surgery in 1963. (Photo: Jim Bovin)

Though Tom Anderson is a University of Minnesota alumnus ('80 B.S.), his most vivid memories of campus are from his childhood. That's because in the fall of 1963, Anderson spent about a month at the Variety Club Heart Hospital after having a risky open-heart surgery to repair his congenital atrial septal defect, which causes reduced oxygen in the body's blood supply and gets progressively worse. At the time, even under the skilled care of the University team that pioneered the procedure, it carried a 50-50 chance of success.


At Family Camp Weekends hosted by the University of Minnesota's Paul and Sheila Wellstone Muscular Dystrophy Center, "you'll see families just being families," says Joline Dalton, M.S., C.G.C., a U genetics counselor who helped start the wildly popular camp five years ago. "It's a place where you don't have to worry if your child can participate, because everything is geared toward MD."

With advice from the Cardio-Oncology Clinic, Jack Reher found a routine that made his heart strong enough to withstand a stem-cell transplant to treat his lymphona. (Photo: Scott Streble)

Early-stage cancer patients have become one of medicine's biggest success stories, as the almost 14 million survivors in the United States would be happy to attest. But for many of them, another threat lurks in the background: heart disease. Through its integrated cardio-oncology program, the University of Minnesota has taken aim at this problem with a full-bore range of research and treatment facilities geared toward the prevention and early detection of heart disease in cancer patients, and its physicians are helping patients already diagnosed with cardiovascular problems withstand cancer treatment.

Tom Busch's gift to aortic valve disease research honors his mother and hero, Dorothy Busch.

When Dorothy Busch died in 2011 at age 92, her son, Tom Busch, told his cousin that his mom was his hero. The cousin, he recalls, replied, "You know, Tom, she was a hero to many, many people." It was that sentiment that prompted Tom to set up the Dorothy M. Busch Memorial Endowed Fund to support aortic valve disease and related research at the University of Minnesota.

Cindy Martin, M.D. (Photo: Scott Streble)

At the Adult Congenital and Cardiovascular Genetics Center at the University of Minnesota, Cindy Martin, M.D., works with people who were born with heart defects or inherited heart diseases and finds ways to alleviate their symptoms. But in the laboratory, she conducts research that delves deeper into what exactly in the patients' genetic makeup caused their disease. And many of her patients jump at the chance to be a part of it.

View a photo slideshow of the opening. (Photo: Scott Streble)

The University of Minnesota revealed another 280,000 square feet of state-of-the-art space on June 14 at a grand opening celebration for its Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building.

Kay Lillehei

Kaye Lillehei knew she was making a good investment in 2000 when she committed $13 million to the University of Minnesota to create the Lillehei Heart Institute. So when the longtime University advocate and volunteer died in November at age 91, her family felt it was only right to make a gift to the University in her honor.

Rita Perlingeiro, Ph.D. (Photo: Brady Willette)

The company made a multiyear gift commitment to help kick-start a University research project focused on finding a new therapy for limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A.

Photo: Brady Willette

By midsummer, University of Minnesota scientists engaged in cancer and cardiovascular research will be settling into their new building across from TCF Bank Stadium. Conceived as the gateway to the University's burgeoning Biomedical Discovery District (BDD), the Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building will not only house researchers, it will also welcome passersby inside to see firsthand the impact of the research being done throughout the BDD.

Joseph Metzger, Ph.D., and his lab team are giving dysfunctional hearts new instructions. (Photo: Brady Willette)

A University team has created a novel 'calcium sponge' to help erase one of the country's leading causes of heart failure.

Patti Taylor (Photo: Richard Anderson)

A University of Minnesota surgeon and two interventional cardiologists put their heads together to find a better treatment option for grandmother Patti Taylor, who has faced a host of medical problems throughout her life and wasn't a good candidate for open-heart surgery.

Marie Guion Johnson, Ph.D., founder of AUM Cardiovascular, also works as an adjunct assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University. (Photo: Scott Streble)

It’s taken personal tragedy, years of research, and a mysterious late-night epiphany for Marie Guion Johnson, Ph.D., to develop a promising new medical device that can detect coronary-artery blockage. Her invention, called the CADence™, is a noninvasive handheld tool that she hopes eventually will be used as a functional test for people at high risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.

Paul Iaizzo, Ph.D., has directed cutting-edge research in the Visible Heart Laboratory since 1997, when it was created in collaboration with Medtronic, Inc. (Photo: Brady Willette)

You could call it a long-term, heartfelt commitment. In addition to its large, ongoing research contract, Medtronic recently committed another $350,000 to the University of Minnesota’s Visible Heart® Laboratory—the only place in the world where human hearts (donated, not suitable for transplantation) are reanimated so scientists can see exactly how they work from the inside.

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