Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Heart Disease Research at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

ByRobert Simari, M.D., Director, Cardiovascular Research, Mayo Clinic
March 3, 2009, 2:59 PM

— -- Hello. My name is Robert Simari, and I'm the chair of the cardiovascular research division at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Our focus of cardiovascular research at Mayo is congestive heart failure. One of the questions that we've been dealing with is: What does the most dangerous snake in South America have to do with human heart failure?

The answer is that the green mamba snake of South America and the human heart both produce very potent peptides that regulate heart and kidney function.

Twenty years ago in research at the Mayo Clinic, these natriuretic peptides, or small proteins, were identified as being generated from the human heart during heart failure. Recent research at Mayo has identified that the green mamba snake produces peptides very similar to those produced by the human heart.

Through research done at Mayo, there has been a development of these snake peptides for application in human disease.

It turns out that these potent peptides both have active properties in humans and are being developed for human disease. It is this fundamental understanding of basic biology -- whether it be human biology or snake biology, and its application to human disease, that is known as translational research -- that is a large focus of our research efforts in the cardiovascular division at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

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