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Cardiac Regeneration and Repair Using Matrix Biomaterials


Paul W.M. Fedak, MD PhD FRCSC FAHA

Associate Professor, Department of Cardiac Sciences, University of Calgary
Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta
Cardiac Surgeon, Alberta Health Services
Director, Marlene and Don Campbell Translational Research Laboratory, University of Calgary
Adjunct Associate Professor, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA
Director of Translational Research, Martha and Richard Melman Family Bicuspid Aortic Valve Program, Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA

Maladaptive structural cardiac remodeling after ischemic injury results in a transition to heart failure from progressive loss of cardiac function. Cellular regenerative therapies are promising but face significant translational hurdles. Biologic extracellular matrix (ECM) holds the necessary environmental cues to stimulate endogenous myocardial repair and promote adaptive remodeling toward functional recovery. The epicardium has emerged as an important anatomic niche for endogenous repair pathways including vasculogenesis and cardiogenesis. We show that acellular ECM scaffolds
surgically implanted on the epicardial surface following myocardial infarction (MI) can attenuate structural cardiac remodeling and improve functional recovery. By assessing the efficacy of this strategy on post‐MI functional recovery and comparing bioactive and biologically inactivated ECM scaffolds, we confirm that bioactive properties within the biomaterial are essential for the observed functional benefits. We uncover that interaction of human cardiac fibroblasts with bioactive ECM can induce a robust vasculogenic paracrine response capable of functional blood vessel assembly. FGF‐2 is shown to be a critical regulator of this novel bioinductive effect. Acellular bioactive ECM scaffolds surgically implanted on the epicardium post‐MI can stimulate adaptive endogenous cardiac repair and is considered a promising therapeutic strategy with minimal translational challenges.

About the Speaker…

Paul Fedak is a cardiac surgeon and scientist at the University of Calgary. Dr. Fedak is committed to the innovation and translation of new surgical therapies for patients with advanced heart disease. He has pioneered novel sternal closure techniques and is currently developing stem cell and tissue engineering approaches to treat heart failure. He also has an interest in bicuspid aortopathy and leads a collaborative research effort with Northwestern University in Chicago.
Dr. Fedak is a graduate of University of Toronto medical school and completed further training in cardiac surgery (F.R.C.S.C.) and biomedical science (Ph.D.) in Toronto. He was awarded a Detweiler Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada that supported advanced training in surgery for end-stage heart disease at Northwestern University in Chicago. He was recruited to Calgary as a “Clinical Investigator” of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical research (AHFMR). He has published over 100 peer-reviewed original manuscripts and numerous book chapters. Dr. Fedak serves as an Invited Reviewer and/or Editorial Board Member for 16 leading biomedical publications. He is the recipient of numerous international and national research awards.  Some of these include the C. Walton Lillehei Award (American Association for Thoracic Surgery),  Vivien Thomas Young Investigator Award (American Heart Association), Paul Cartier Award (Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons), and Wilfred Bigelow Award (University of Toronto), Watanabe Distinguished Achievement Award (University of Calgary) and Calgary’s “Top 40 Under 40” (Avenue Magazine). He is an elected member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery and Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) and is widely recognized as a knowledge and opinion leader in cardiac surgery.


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