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New grant for stem cell treatment of hole in the heart

Professor Massimo Caputo

21 December 2015

A research project in Bristol’s School of Clinical Sciences for the treatment of babies born with hole in the heart has been awarded a grant by the Enid Linder Foundation.

Congenital heart disease is the commonest birth defect in the UK (around 1 per cent of births). Massimo Caputo, Professor of Congenital Heart Surgery, has been developing stem cell patches for babies with this condition, instead of the current patches that do not grow with the child and often lead to repeated operations.  

The £250,000 grant goes towards the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) phase of this research, which has yielded excellent results so far in producing patches grown from stem cells. This could have great benefits for babies born with this condition, requiring them to have less surgery and reducing the risk of complications.

The Enid Linder Foundation has already supported this project for five years, from its initial stages in the laboratory through to pre-clinical testing. The next phase, to take place over the next two years, will refine the tissue engineering process in the laboratory. This will then, it is hoped, lead to clinical trials.

The project has also received funding from the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, the British Heart Foundation and alumni of the University of Bristol.

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