Placental Cord Blood Cell Therapy in Children at High Risk of Heart Failure

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Salvatore Pepe 9345 4114 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Christian Brizard Personal web page
A/Prof Michael Cheung

Summary Placental Cord Blood Cell Therapy in Children at High Risk of Heart Failure

Project Details

Our work seeks to reduce the high risk of heart failure and death faced by children with severe and complex heart diseases. Babies born with severely malformed heart and blood vessels that are inadequate for normal blood circulation undergo a series of complex heart operations, the first is performed on day 2 or 3 of life (Norwood procedure). Even after surgery, the heart is under great metabolic and mechanical stress as excessive demands do not allow normal heart muscle growth to sufficiently support blood circulation leading to high mortality in the first year of life. In other children with heart failure due to heart muscle damage (cardiomyopathy), surgical implantation of a ventricular assist device (VAD, mechanical pump) supports heart function, alleviating pressure and volume overload to allow potential adaptive repair, muscle growth, improved muscle function and weaning from the pump. However many still require a heart transplant or die within 2 years of diagnosis.

From our previous research and that of others, cord blood stem cells (CBSC) have been found to stimulate normal heart muscle growth, increase pumping capacity, and reduce inflammation, fibrosis and metabolic stress after surgery. In order to apply this, we have designed a safe way to directly treat the heart with CBSC during the cardiopulmonary bypass surgery that is employed in the Norwood and VAD implantation procedures.

Depending on the qualifications and interests, a number of research projects are available at honours, Masters or PhD level, involving laboratory or clinical based work. Student background and research interests are ideally in one or more areas such as: physiology, immunology, haematology, genetics, biochemistry, pharmacology, surgery, veterinary medicine or medicine.

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine

Research Opportunities

PhD students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department / Centre


Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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