Adjunct Cord Blood Cell Therapy for Paediatric Heart Failure

Research Opportunity
PhD students
Department / Centre
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
A/Prof Salvatore Pepe spepe@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Christian Brizard christian.brizard@rch.org.au

Summary Our work examines how cord blood immune and stem cells influence adaptive processes involved in muscle growth and metabolism, inflammation and fibrosis by promoting growth and limiting adverse myocardial remodelling in the paediatric heart at risk of failure. Project opportunities may involve studies of immune cell metabolism, paracrine cell-cell interactions in models of inflammation, fibrosis and angiogenesis, in vitro and in surgical models, in addition to clinical trial work (medical/nursing graduates).

Project Details

A high risk of heart failure complications and death is faced by children with severe congenital heart disease such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), and by children with dilated cardiomyopathy or severe myocarditis requiring ventricular assist device implantation and support. HLHS requires extensive complex surgical reorganisation of the neonatal heart, however metabolic supply-demand insufficiencies limit postoperative recovery at a time when neonatal myocardial growth and increased myocardial performance is required. For cardiomyopathy patients, workload-dependent energy demand, pressure and volume load in excess of capacity drives progressive worsening of myocardial dysfunction, cardiac remodelling and heart failure. Their survival requires mechanical assist device implantation to permit ventricular unloading and increased cardiac output. In both patient cohorts cardiopulmonary bypass surgery is a first step in initiating respective treatments. Despite advances in surgical intervention, further advances are required to target myocardial remodelling directly at a cellular level.

Our work examines how cord blood immune and stem cells influence adaptive processes involved in muscle growth and metabolism, inflammation and fibrosis by promoting growth and limiting adverse myocardial remodelling in the paediatric heart at risk of failure.  Recently, we demonstrated a new method of delivering cord blood stem cells to the heart using an experimental animal model of paediatric cardiopulmonary bypass surgery and have completed a preliminary safety trial in neonates with HLHS.

Project opportunities may involve studies of immune cell metabolism, paracrine cell-cell interactions in models of inflammation, fibrosis and angiogenesis, in vitro and in surgical models, in addition to clinical trial work (medical/nursing graduates). More than one project is available for Medical, Veterinary or Biomedical Science graduates according to student qualifications and interests.



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

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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