2006 - 2007 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada/ Transamerica Life Canada Research Fellowship - Cimini

Dr. Massimo Cimini
Toronto General Hospital

Cardiac regeneration is an exciting field offering new hope to many patients. Children with heart defects require intervention to restore normal heart function. They are often saved by surgeons who repair this damage with synthetic materials. Unfortunately, these vital materials break down, leading to multiple surgeries to replace them over the child’s lifetime.

Dr. Massimo Cimini would like to solve this problem by using repair materials taken from a patient’s own body. He is looking into ways to patch up damaged hearts with cell therapy and/or grafts of tissues grown from living cells. This therapy may also be used for patients who have suffered a heart attack. This single approach for these two cardiac diseases is Dr. Cimini’s major research interest.
For Dr. Cimini, who works at the Toronto General Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Ren-Ke Li, this approach offers several advantages. Living tissue will eventually integrate into the surrounding tissue and grow with the patient, increasing the quality of life for these patients. In addition, cell therapy may also offer therapeutic benefits by quickening the repair process and/or regeneration of the affected heart tissue.
Dr. Cimini believes the key to success is to understand how the heart responds to injury, since this may predict possible outcomes of the implanted living tissue and/or cells. His focus is on how the heart is scarred following a heart attack. He is investigating how this scar formation is regulated by cells outside the heart to see if it could be changed to improve a patient’s recovery.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is pleased to support Dr. Cimini’s ambitious vision.
Supported by Transamerica Life Canada