Erasing the need for heart transplants

U-M doctors are exploring ways to grow heart tissue for patients, from their own skin cells

Above: Heart tissue created from pluripotent stem cells pulse in a petri dish in Dr. Si’s research lab.

It may sound like a plot point from a sci-fi thriller, but turning skin cells into heart tissue is what Ming-Sing Si, MD, is doing in his research lab at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. And one day, it might eliminate the need for heart transplantation.

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Ultrasound: Not just for baby pictures

U-M researchers making "knifeless" surgery a reality for babies with congenital heart defects

A “hole” created in atrial tissue using “knifeless surgery” techniques Dr Owens and his team hope to use to create flow channels in the hearts of infants with congenital heart defects.

Anyone who has had a baby is familiar with ultrasound. That squirt of gel on your belly and the magic of the image of your little developing baby. Those images are made possible by high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the baby and back to the transducer in the hand of the technician or doctor. It’s that same technology, but on a much more intense level, that Gabe Owens, MD, PhD, is using in his research.

“We’re working to harness the energy the ultrasound emits and use it for therapeutic purposes,” says Dr. Owens. His research focuses on opening flow channels in the hearts of babies with congenital heart defects.

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Getting social gets results

U-M Pediatric cardiologist turns to social media to study HLHS treatment complications

When you’re dealing with a rare condition, conducting research can be challenging since the pool of study participants is so small. That’s one of the challenges Kurt Schumacher, MD, faced with his investigation of complications developed by some patients who have undergone a Fontan procedure, a heart surgery used to treat some congenital heart anomalies.

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