University Hospitals, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Marco Costa. I am the Director of the Center for Research and Innovation at University Hospitals and Heart and Vascular Institute at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I'm also Professor of Medicine and Director of Catheterization Laboratories and Invasive Services.

We have a number of interesting clinical oriented research projects happening in our center. Probably the most exciting ones are our research with stem cell therapy for treating patients with cardiovascular disease -- so patients that have claudication or peripheral artery disease, or pain in their legs when they're walking. These patients now we are doing a clinical research project to utilize a patient's own blood cells. There are stem cells that have the capability to regenerate new blood vessels, and we are trying to treat these patients and see if this will benefit their symptoms.

We also have two other research projects for patients. One is for patients with heart failure, that we are injecting cells that have the capability, and we hope it will provide strength for their heart. And we also have another research project that for patients that have had heart attack, they have had bypass surgery or stents, and they still have problems with their heart. These patients might qualify to receive stem cells. And we are looking forward to see if those strategies and new therapy options will benefit those patients.

On another area of research, on the imaging side, we have very exciting news from our hospital, which is a development of optical coherence tomography. Basically this is a super ultrasound machine that we can place these small catheters inside the coronary arteries and look at resolutions up to 10 microns. And we are very excited about this technology. We have been working with our collaborators in Europe and we have now come a long way and hope this technology will soon be approved for all the hospitals in the United States.

And finally, some exciting news that some of our collaborators in Europe and New Zealand Australia have recently reported is the use of biodegradable stents. So we have in our biomedical engineering program a number of technologies that are under development, but this is already technology that has been used in humans outside the United States and soon we're going to be more involved on those projects, trying to develop a stent technology that can treat the heart of these patients, but will dissolve over time so as in the future patients do not need to walk around with metallic stents in their heart. So that's a very interesting area that we're trying to develop in collaboration with our colleagues and partners in Japan and Europe.

Marco Costa, M.D., Ph.D., Dir., Center for Research and Innovation, Univ. Hospitals Heart & Vascular Institute
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