Human Heart Cells and Biological Pacemaker Created from Human Embryonic Stem Cells by Prof. Lior Gepstein
Prof. Lior Gepstein
2 May, 2007
Prof. Lior Gepstein, member of the Rappaport Institute has been awarded the very first American College of Cardiology’s Zipes Award for the year 2006. The Douglas P. Zipes Distinguished Young Scientist Award in given in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of cardiovascular disease. Prof. Gepstein received the award for his contribution to the development of electophysiological and electomechanical mapping techniques for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and for his contributions to the emerging field of cardiovascular regenerative medicine. Prof. Gepstein and his group were the first researchers to successfully create human heart tissue from human embryonic stem cells. More recently they succeeded in using these human cardiomyocytes as biological pacemakers in an animal model of a slow heart rate. Ongoing work in his lab is focusing on developing cell therapy and tissue engineering strategies, using these unique cells for various cardiac pathologies including myocardial regeneration strategies for the treatment of heart failure and biological alternatives to electronic pacemakers. This exciting development may bring hope in the future to patients suffering from severe cardiac insufficiency, whose only treatment option at present time is a heart transplant. Although there is still much work to be done, Prof. Gepstein is hopeful that human testing of this new procedure will be able to begin within the next 10 years.