Nature is inspiring translational research that could lead to a cure for heart failure, the No. 1 killer in America. Advanced adult-stem-cell harvesting, growth and delivery techniques developed at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute could soon save the lives of 1 million Americans who die from coronary artery disease each year. Coronary artery disease claims more lives than cancers of all types, accidents and the next five leading causes of death in the U.S. combined, including lower respiratory diseases, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
“The heart can rebuild tissue, that is a fact,” said Dr. Mohamed Gaballa, senior scientist at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute and lead investigator for an adult-stem-cell translational research project now underway in Sun City. “Our technique using adult stem cells simply mirrors the work of nature. We’re providing the resources that allow the complex mechanisms of the body to heal itself.”
Gaballa’s research moves into high gear thanks to $2 million in funding from the Sun Health Foundation and $600,000 from Banner Health. The funding supports the setup and initiation of the project, and includes additional personnel and equipment. Human trials using adult stem cells to build new heart tissue will be underway within a year and a half.
“There is world-class research being conducted at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute and we continue to support it,” said Ronald Guziak, president and CEO of Sun Health Foundation. “The donors who support the Sun Health Foundation want to directly impact the effectiveness of healthcare in America. This research is an example of medical research our donors support, one that could change the face of cardiology and save millions of lives.”
“Generous support from the Sun Health Foundation plays a significant role in changing the trajectory of finding a cure for cardiovascular disease. I believe using novel adult-stem-cell therapy can bring a radical transformation in securing a treatment of the nation’s No. 1 killer. I’m pleased that this great research has the opportunity to be funded,” said Bill Camp, CEO Banner Sun Health Research Institute.
“We draw stem cells directly from heart tissue, grow massive numbers of new stem cells and then deliver them into the heart. That is what makes our research unique,” Gaballa said.
To move research to the next logical step – human trials – requires funding not easily obtained. Without clearly patentable drugs or tools that could provide future profits, investors ignore this kind of translational research.
Funding from Sun Health Foundation and Banner Health, generated by private donors, fills the funding gap that has doomed many promising research projects.
“Without the support of the Sun Health Foundation and Banner Health, our research would be at a standstill. We must prove once and for all that we can help rebuild the heart after it is damaged using adult stem cells. That’s our goal.”
Source: Banner Sun Health Research Institute