Public Release: 

Children's Hospital Colorado, Mayo Clinic announce congenital heart defect collaboration

Children's Hospital Colorado

Mayo Clinic's Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Children's Hospital Colorado are collaborating to provide solutions for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare and complex form of congenital heart disease in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped.

"We are thrilled that Children's Hospital Colorado has joined the hypoplastic left heart syndrome consortium because it brings the research to more patients who may have otherwise had to travel in order to participate," says Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director, Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. "It means that individuals with HLHS [hypoplastic left heart syndrome] now have more options at their fingertips while the consortium members are coming together to accelerate finding new and better solutions for these patients."

"We've already taken advantage of this exciting new opportunity," says James Jaggers, M.D., chief of congenital cardiac surgery and co-director of the Heart Institute at Children's Hospital Colorado. "In March, we had a mother deliver her baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and we collected cord blood to send to Mayo Clinic. When we perform heart surgery on this baby later this summer, we'll be ready to inject the baby's own stem cells into the heart muscle, which, hopefully, will help make it even stronger."

"After a child is diagnosed with HLHS, parents can feel helpless. However, by participating in this collaboration, they can potentially help improve their child's outcome," said Bettina Cuneo, M.D., director of Fetal Cardiology in the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children's Hospital Colorado.

This announcement brings the total number of hypoplastic left heart syndrome consortium members to five: Mayo Clinic, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Children's Minnesota, and Children's Hospital Colorado. The bicoastal collaboration is expanding the development of cell-based, innovative research opportunities to transform the lives of people living with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The consortium aligns regional centers into a nationwide collaboration led by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome at Mayo Clinic to accelerate innovation on hypoplastic left heart syndrome, discovery sciences and clinical expertise by investing local resources back into research.


About the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

Founded in 2010, the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies.

About Children's Hospital Colorado

Children's Hospital Colorado is a leading pediatric network 100 percent dedicated to the health and well-being of children, adolescents and young adults. Recognized nationally and internationally for its medical, research, education and advocacy programs, Children's Colorado is at the forefront of research in childhood disease and pioneering treatments that are shaping the future of pediatrics, as well as offering everyday care for kids throughout Colorado and surrounding states. For more information, visit the Children's Hospital Colorado website, or connect with Children's Hospital Colorado on Facebook and Twitter.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, comprehensive care to everyone who needs healing. Learn more about Mayo Clinic. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network.

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