University of Louisville Magazine

FALL 2017

The University of Louisville Alumni Magazine: for alumni, faculty, staff, students and anyone that is a UofL Cardinal fan.

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9 FALL 2017 HIGH PRAISE FOR HEART RESEARCH T he University of Louisville received one of the largest medi- cal research grants in the school's 219-year history. The National Institutes of Health awarded $13.8 million to study a prom- ising new type of adult cardiac stem cell as a treatment for heart failure. "It is critical that we have this type of support for the important research programs that we carry out, which can help patients around the world," said Roberto Bolli, director of Uof L's Institute of Molecular Cardiology and scientific director of the Cardio- vascular Innovation Institute. Heart failure affects millions of people, and the most common cause is a heart attack. Until now, conventional treatments for heart failure have consisted of surgery or medications, which can alleviate symptoms but do not cure the disease. In contrast, Bolli's focus has been on how to repair the heart itself and cure heart failure using a patient's own stem cells. It is an approach that could revolutionize the treatment of heart disease. "We are continually striving for new and better ways to treat heart disease," Bolli said. "I'm confident we are not that far from a cure." The NIH grant is a continuation of a Program Project Grant (PPG) that Bolli and his team were originally awarded in 2005. The latest round of funding comes after Bolli and his colleagues discov- ered a new population of adult stem cells, called CMCs, in the heart three years ago. Bolli and his team want to find out what CMCs will do when transplanted into a diseased heart in mice and pigs, ultimately laying the groundwork for clinical trials in patients. Interim Uof L President Greg Pos- tel noted that the NIH didn't just approve Uof L's grant application, it funded the project with a per- fect score and rare high praise. The committee reviewing the applica- tion concluded the program was, "exceptional," with "significant trans- lational impact, an exceptional leader and investigative team and an excep- tional environment." "This is a prestigious grant reflect- ing the magnitude of the work being conducted here," Postel said. "Being awarded this grant is a huge, huge accomplishment." Roberto Bolli announces the NIH grant to study cardiac stem cellls.

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