Dr. Kishore Pasumarthi
Mending Broken Hearts:
Dr. Kishore Pasumarthi explores new territory in cardiac regeneration
Popular wisdom says you can’t mend a broken heart—but Dr. Kishore Pasumarthi is determined to try. He and his research team are exploring groundbreaking cell transplant and gene therapy technologies, to see if they can improve the function of hearts that have been compromised by heart failure, congenital heart defects or cardiotoxicity associated with chemotherapy.
“We’re going a step beyond stem cell transplants in myocardial repair,” says Dr. Pasumarthi, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Dalhousie Medical School. “We are isolating the specific progenitor cells that give rise to heart cells into a pure culture and transplanting these cardiac progenitor cells into diseased hearts. Then we’re observing the cells to see if they develop into functional heart muscle cells that help the heart beat efficiently in spite of the damage.”
Research in Dr. Pasumarthi’s lab is also focused on the development of gene and drug-based interventions for patients suffering from heart failure. Unique biomarker profiles and genetic mutations have been identified in various cohorts of heart failure patients around the globe. Dr. Pasumarthi believes his research could identify early intervention approaches for heart failure patients with reduced or preserved ejection fractions.
In collaboration with Dr. Susan Howlett, Dr. Pasumarthi and his team are exploring whether gene and cell-based interventions can improve heart function in experimental models of heart failure with reduced or preserved ejection fractions. At the same time, Dr. Pasumarthi has embarked on new collaborative projects with Dalhousie colleagues, Dr. Jean-François Légaré, Keith Brunt and Morgan Langille to explore the role of genetic mutations in heart failure patients from Atlantic Canada.
Funding from the 2019 Spring Molly Appeal Project will greatly enhance the availability of patient biopsies with correlative clinical information and certainly strengthen a new research direction in the Pasumarthi lab.