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Houston Methodist Foundation Magazine | 2014

When the heart of a tiny zebrafish is damaged or injured, it can fully regenerate and return to normal function within a month. Salamanders, too, have regenerative powers that naturally mend their broken hearts. What if the human heart had the same ability to heal itself? Dr. John Cooke, holder of the Joseph C. “Rusty” Walter and Carole Walter Looke Presidential Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Disease Research, director of Houston Methodist’s Center for Cardiovascular Regeneration and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, foresees a time in the not-too-distant future when regeneration of the human heart is not only possible, but the norm. His team’s research to transform scar cells into heart or vascular cells holds the potential to restore health to heart attack and heart failure patients and to create a new conceptual framework for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. 800 innovative projects Heart regeneration research is among more than 800 cutting-edge projects underway today in the Houston Methodist Research Institute that can benefit from the Translational Research Initiative, or TRI. This innovative strategy’s goal to build a $10 million philanthropic investment fund will help advance a handful of Houston Methodist’s most promising research from preclinical animal studies all the way to human clinical trials and, ultimately, to the health care marketplace. Research that typically costs billions of dollars and takes up to two decades is possible in a fraction of the time and cost in the comprehensive Research Institute, designed to take ideas from laboratory discovery to patients’ bedsides – all under one roof. “We’re dealing with real health issues and problems and finding ways to solve them more quickly,” says Mark Houser, chair of the Houston Methodist Research Institute board. “Seeing the advances in technology is amazing.” Recruiting world-class talent Former Research Institute board chair and longtime Houston Methodist leader Greg Nelson also envisions a future loaded with potential. “Our Research Institute strategy can make this a place where the world’s leading researchers will want to come to be part of this,” Nelson says. “I believe our Houston Methodist culture of quality, innovation and enhanced clinical outcomes can attract even more world-class talent. You can see that now in the quality of scientific research recruiting that Dr. (Mauro) Ferrari has attained.” Dr. Ferrari is President and CEO of the Houston Methodist Research Institute and holder of the Ernest Cockrell Jr. Distinguished Endowed Chair. TRANSLATING ABSTRACT RESEARCH INTO ACTUAL INNOVATIONS FOR PATIENT CARE 8 Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation


Houston Methodist Foundation Magazine | 2014
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