Winter 2016

Focus on Advanced Heart Failure

The Temple Heart & Vascular Institute newsletter offers news, insight and collaboration for our colleagues in cardiovascular research and clinical care. This inaugural issue focuses on heart failure, a condition that affects 5.1 million Americans and in which Temple has seen significant developments recently: in FY ’15, Temple treated 4,449 patients for heart failure and saw a doubling in heart transplant numbers, to 30. Many were complex dual-organ transplants, including heart-lung and heart-kidney.

As a leader in heart transplants and one of the nation’s first hospitals to offer an artificial heart, Temple has a long history addressing heart failure. We also provide a home for advanced research into heart failure’s genetic determinants, mechanisms and treatment. Our work across disciplines continues to yield exciting new developments, some of which you will read about here. To learn more about our programs, make a referral or discuss a partnership, contact the Temple Advanced Heart Failure Program at 215-707-7346.

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Could Bone Stem Cells Cause Damaged Hearts to Repair Ischemic Tissue?

Interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons are adept at re-perfusing patients suffering from myocardial infarctions in order to save as much heart tissue as possible. Yet current best practices achieve little in terms of treating heart tissue that has become ischemic and died as a result of a heart attack.

Temple’s Cardiovascular Research Center (CVRC) is exploring a novel regenerative medicine approach that utilizes bone stem cells—not to generate new myocyte cells but to direct the damaged heart to quickly repair itself after a heart attack by replacing dead cardiac myocytes.

The bone cell research is one of the main initiatives funded by a five-year, $11.6 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, initially awarded to the CVRC three years ago. The grant’s focus: to develop new approaches to prevent, slow or reverse damage to the heart after a heart attack.

CVRC researchers tested a variety of cells using a mouse model. They rejected embryonic stem cells for two reasons: “Embryonic stem cells have the potential to form tumors in the heart,” says Steven R. Houser, PhD, FAHA, CVRC Director, “and, once the cells ‘commit’ to becoming cardiac muscle cells and are injected, they do not do well in an already-damaged heart.” Continue Reading >

PROFILE: Temple Inherited Cardiomyopathy Program


Recent advances in biotechnology provide an opportunity to interrogate the human genome in a highly efficient, rapid and cost-effective manner, augmenting our understanding of the genetic underpinnings of many diseases, including cardiomyopathy. The genetic basis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has been recognized for some time, but it was not known until recently that at least one-third of so-called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDCM) cases have a genetic (familial) basis. Continue Reading >

Gene Expression Profiling: A Great Advance in Detecting Graft Rejection

Much of our success with heart transplantation in the past half-century has been attributable to advances in immuno-suppression. However, acute cellular rejection is still an issue, especially in the first year after a transplant. Rejection is associated with graft failure and graft loss, as well as long-term sequelae. Endomyocardial biopsy remains the gold standard in the surveillance of rejection but is associated with procedural risks and patient discomfort. Continue Reading >

Houser Named President-elect of American Heart Association


Steven R. Houser, PhD, FAHA, Senior Associate Dean of Research, Vera J. Goodfriend Endowed Chair of Cardiovascular Research and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, has been elected to serve as president-elect of the American Heart Association (AHA). Continue Reading >