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A/Prof James Chong - Cardiac Research & Care

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A/Prof James Chong - Cardiac Research & Care

James Chong

Here at Westmead, there are teams of dedicated scientists and clinicians who are fighting heart
disease on many fronts.. Heart disease takes someone from us every twelve minutes and is our countries’ and communitys’, biggest health problem. Those lucky enough to survive the initial
emergency are left with damage that cannot heal itself. Patients who have experienced a heart attack are at an increased risk of future sudden death from the previous damage to their heart muscle that causes multiple problems...

1. The residual muscle scarring alters electrical conduction, leading to an abnormal rhythm.

2. The muscle has become too weak to pump blood around the body as well as it used to.

3. As the muscle struggles to work, blood can gather behind the heart and cause fluid to collect in the lungs or other body tissue.

Damaged heart muscle is described as heart failure, and can also be caused by other chronic health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. It leaves people feeling tired and fatigued.

Treatment options >> Heart transplantation is a treatment option, but availability is limited and not everyone is considered a suitable candidate for such major surgery. There is a great need for treatment that can regenerate new, viable cardiac tissue and repair the damaged muscle.

Dr Chong performed all his medical training at Westmead Hospital from internship to specialist cardiology training. He is passionate about translating findings from his research into viable clinical therapies for patients with heart failure.

Dr Chong and his team have achieved what is being lauded as a significant worldwide breakthrough by successfully growing and implanting heart muscle cells to repair the damaged heart of a primate, after a heart attack.

The new heart muscle cells achieved electro mechanical coupling with the original host heart and showed for the first time the growth of blood vessels from the host heart was responsible for supplying the grafted heart muscle with nutrients. The stem cell derived heart muscle was able to replace damaged and dead heart tissue by up to 40%. What this means is that the new cells worked with the heart and not against it. The potential for this type of treatment is that it could provide patients with a less invasive option than a transplant. This is a major discovery.

Moving these studies to the next stage will provide crucial information required to take this new therapy to clinical trials in human patients and advances that once seemed decades away may now be available a closer reality for people living with heart disease - but we need your help to get there!



June He
Hope you and your team can achieve the target soon!