Richard Weisel

Richard Weisel M.D.
Professor Emeritus
Cardiac Surgery








RETIRED - 2019

Research Interests:

Introduction: Research interests have included myocardial protection and cardiac regeneration after a myocardial infarction.

Myocardial Protection: To determine the best methods to protect the heart during heart surgery, the cardiac surgeons at Toronto General Hospital developed unique methods to evaluate ventricular function and myocardial metabolism. Myocardial protection has markedly improved and the current results of heart surgery are substantially better despite the increasing risk of the patients referred for surgery.

Cardiac Regeneration: Studies performed at the Toronto General Research Institute were the first to show that the transplantation of heart cells into a myocardial scar restored ventricular function after cardiac injury (ATS 1996;62:654).

Based on the results of preclinical studies, we have initiated a clinical trial of bone marrow stem cells injected into the infarct region in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. We developed a Organ Regeneration Laboratory within the Operating Rooms at the Toronto General Hospital which is employed to separate active stem cells from bone marrow aspirates prior to their injection into the infarcted heart. We hope to report the results of this clinical trial in 2014.

We demonstrated that cardiac regeneration could also be achieved by a new noninvasive method of gene therapy. Finally, cardiac regeneration can be enhanced by tissue engineering.

Summary: Myocardial protection and cardiac regeneration have been the focus of our research interests. We have been able to translate a number of our discoveries to clinical trials and some have become the standard of care.

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