International

Regenerating heart cells


Dre Jolanta Gutkowska
Dre Jolanta Gutkowska

You survived a heart attack, and your heart now has sequelae. What does the future hold for you? Medications, heart failure or a transplant? This is not the opinion of Dr. Jolanta Gutkowska.

According to Dr. Gutkowska, who is preparing a major breakthrough in the treatment of heart failure, a simple hormone injection could repair the damage. The Heart and Stroke Foundation researcher believes that the secret to regenerating heart cells is a hormone that plays an important role at birth: oxytocin (OT).

"EO is a well-known reproductive hormone in women, but we believe it can also repair heart damage," says Dr. Gutkowska who designed her revolutionary idea based on several findings suggesting that EO is also A cardiovascular hormone. "Research shows that both men and women have EO. Our team also discovered this hormone and its receptors in the heart. In addition, Dr. Gutkowska and her colleagues demonstrated that EO is active in the heart of the fetus and can play a role in the development of cardiac cells.

"We plan to inject EO into damaged heart tissue to stimulate the growth of new cells," Dr. Gutkowska says. His team will also try to use the OT to create cardiac cells to implant them in a heart heart and thus "recharge" the organ.

Because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in Canada, Dr. Gutkowska's research innovation is of significant significance. "Using EO to restore heart function would be a remarkable leap forward for cardiovascular research," she says. We will soon see new treatments for heart patients. "

Dr. Gutkowska's research program is funded jointly by an Emerging Team Grant from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health. Funding for this grant comes from the Heart and Stroke Foundation Research Fund, a strategic funding initiative to support innovative and multidisciplinary research. The five-year study, whose work is held at the Hôtel-Dieu pavilion in Montreal, is undertaken by a team of five researchers with diverse expertise in physiology, anesthesiology and other disciplines.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is proud to have Dr. Gutkowska among the researchers she funds. Dr. Gutkowska is a passionate researcher who has devoted nearly three decades to scientific research. She was recently named Honorary Professor of Medical Sciences by the President of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski.

Bare cholesterol

Dre Marlys Koschinsky
Dre Marlys Koschinsky

Few people are able to understand the clues hidden in the plaque, this accumulation of sticky deposits that is found inside the walls of the arteries and that causes cardiovascular disease. But Dr. Marlys Koschinsky understands that. As a career researcher with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, she is studying certain lipoproteins, cholesterol and protein compounds found in blood, to determine their role in atherosclerosis, a health problem characterized by An occlusion of the arteries, which causes them to lose their elasticity and shrinks them, causing the blood circulation to slow down or stop. Plaque may also cause vessel rupture and clot formation. When this happens, blood circulation inside the artery can be greatly reduced, which in many cases results in a heart attack or stroke.

The main lipoproteins present in human blood, cholesterol and protein-based compounds, are HDL, called "good" cholesterol and LDL, called "bad" cholesterol. Some people have high blood levels of a lipoprotein called Lp (a), which some people have dubbed "truly bad" cholesterol. As part of her ongoing research, Dr. Koschinsky's goal is to understand how apolipoprotein (a), the protein that makes up Lp (a), can play a role in cardiovascular disease. Surprisingly, apolipoprotein (a) actually interferes with the body's ability to dissolve blood clots, a major cause of heart attacks and strokes. His research may lead to the development of new drugs to reduce the risks associated with high levels of Lp (a).

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario has funded Dr. Koschinsky's research work since 1992. In 2001, she became a career researcher with the OCAF. She has also assisted the Heart and Stroke Foundation in a number of ways: serving on scientific review, grant allocation and research committees, serving on the board of directors and Regional activities. In order to raise funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, she served meals, played hockey, pedaled on the Big Bike and hit many golf balls. Dr. Koschinsky holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia.

Hunting genes responsible for heart disease and diabetes


Dr Robert A. Hegele
Dr Robert A. Hegele

What do the Hutterites of Alberta, the Oji-Cree of the Sioux Lookout region and the Inuit of Keewatin have in common? They have all been studied by Dr. Robert A. Hegele, a career researcher with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, in his quest to identify unique genetic mutations that predispose these populations to risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as hypercholesterolemia , High blood pressure and diabetes.

Dr. Hegele studies the link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease by determining the genes specific to these hereditary diseases, such as those that alter the distribution of adipose tissue around the size of the body. Understanding these unique mutations can provide important clues to better control the metabolism of sugars and lipids in people prone to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Hegele and his colleagues were the first in the world to identify the gene that causes a severe hereditary form of insulin resistance. Affected members of families with this gene also suffer from hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attacks at an early age. The study of these families can inform us about arterial diseases. Dr. Hegele uses sophisticated technologies to gather data on these families, a process known as the phenomenon, which allows us to better understand the effects of genes and unveil morbid processes that have never been seen before.

Dr. Hegele's work has resulted in some 300 publications and the identification of more than 100 genetic mutations related to human diseases. His research has been funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario since 1990. Dr. Hegele has been a career researcher for over 10 years.

Tracking heart disease

Dr Peter Liu

Dr Peter Liu

The Heart and Stroke Foundation knew in 1975 that Dr. Peter Liu was a researcher with tremendous potential as a medical student at the University of Toronto. That year he was awarded the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Medical Student Summer Award in order to spend his summers to continue his training in cardiovascular research. "Thanks to this award, I reoriented my interest in immunology to cardiology," says Dr. Liu. Since then, he has contributed significantly to the study and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Liu's research interests focus on the possible link between inflammation and heart disease; On how damage caused by a heart attack can lead to heart failure; And the feasibility of using laboratory findings to provide better care in hospitals. Over the years, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario has continued to support Dr. Liu's work since 1985 by awarding him a series of scholarships as a Principal Investigator and by awarding him the Research Excellence Award - FMCC / Rick Gallop in 2003.

Dr. Liu is the Scientific Director of the Institute of Respiratory and Circulatory Health of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Professor of Medicine and Physiology of the Heart and Stroke Foundation / Polo Chair of the University of Toronto. He is the former Director of the Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research - Heart and Stroke Foundation / Richard Lewar, University of Toronto.

Dr. Liu graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto in 1978 and completed his specialized training in Internal Medicine and Cardiology at the University of Toronto. Subsequently, he continued his postdoctoral studies in cardiovascular research and immunology at the Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Dr. Liu is the author and contributor of over 250 peer-reviewed publications, including articles in Nature, Nature Medicine, The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Circulation, and Circulation Research. Chapters of books. He has served on the editorial board of several scientific journals, and on the scientific review committees of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, CIHR, the National Institutes of Health and others. He has worked as a volunteer board member and has served on other committees of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

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