Friday, December 20, 2013

This is how your heart looks on TV; Hanging out with experts talking about stem cells and heart disease

CIRM's Google Hangout on stem cell therapy for heart disease

Imagine carrying around a computer thumb drive that has a complete read out of your genome so that should you need medical attention the doctors will have instant access to a blueprint of you so they can tailor their treatment for your specific needs.

It may sound futuristic but Dr. Bruce Conklin, a stem cell researcher at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, says it’s not that far fetched and could be a part of our lives in the not too distant future.

Dr. Conklin’s idea was one of the closing thoughts on our Google Hangout on Heart Disease. The panel included Dr. Joseph Wu from Stanford, Dr. Cathy Priest, a Senior Science Officer here at the stem cell agency, and Fred Lesikar, who took part in a clinical trial involving stem cells after he had a heart attack.

The panel has a wide range of expertise and experience with heart disease and they shared that in the Hangout, talking about:

 • Using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to better understand what happens to cells affected by heart disease and then to use those cells to screen drugs to find out what drugs may be most effective at treating the problem.
 • The need to explore the use of several different kinds of stem cell to identify which ones work best for which conditions and even which patients
 • The importance of engaging patients in clinical trials to help advance the science.

CIRM has awarded almost $135 million on 45 different research projects focused on different aspects of heart disease. Both Dr. Wu and Dr. Conklin have received funding from us and both talked about how the next ten years are going to change the way we think about and treat heart disease.

We have posted the Google Hangout to our YouTube channel so you can hear for yourself about all the great progress being made, and the steps we need to take to keep this momentum going.

Kevin McCormack

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