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San Diego State Symposium Has A Lot Of Heart

Aired 11/8/12 on KPBS News.

Innovative approaches to treating heart disease is the topic on the table at an SDSU symposium.

— Medical researchers from all over the world will meet at San Diego State Thursday to talk about new approaches to treating heart disease. The Frontiers in Cardiovascular Regeneration International Symposium will focus on the possibility of rebuilding and re-growing the heart.

Right now, there's no way to repair a severely damaged heart. The only option is a heart transplant. But there's a shortage of available organs, and the operation is extremely expensive.

San Diego State biologist Mark Sussman said there are some new developments that offer hope.

"There have been at least two solid clinical trials done with stem cells isolated from patients, grown up in dishes outside their body, and then reintroduced back into those patients, that have shown dramatic and significant improvements in cardiac function," the chair of the symposium explained.

Researchers will discuss these recent findings at the SDSU symposium.

There will be a scientific session in the morning, and a public session in the afternoon. San Diegans are invited to learn about the latest advancements.

Sussman said it's a crucial topic.

"Because cardiovascular disease is so prevalent in our community, it's important for people to have an awareness that we are moving forward," Sussman said.

One out of every three deaths in the U.S. is due to heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer worldwide.

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