Mayo Researchers Use Stem Cells to Try and Heal Baby Lucas’ Heart
We recently highlighted Lucas Gutman’s story on our social media outlets, but his story was also featured in a Mayo publication called In the Loop. Check out how Lucas became a participant in the clinical trial that injected his own umbilical cord stem cells into the right side of his heart.
__________________ Last July, Jennifer Gutman told Toledo, Ohio’s 13abc Action News that the day doctors diagnosed her unborn son, Lucas, with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, also known as HLHS, was “the worst day of her life.” The diagnosis came during what Jennifer and her husband, Brian, thought would be a routine 22-week ultrasound. The startling news conjured up immediate fears for Lucas’ future, and painful memories for Jennifer. “My brother was also born with HLHS,” she tells us. “He passed away as an infant.”
Determined to not let Lucas meet that same fate, Jennifer’s sister-in-law, a physician, began reaching out to colleagues for advice. This led her to Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., a physician at Mayo’s Rochester campus. Dr. Nelson is the lead researcher on a clinical trial that aims to determine whether regenerative therapies like stem cell injections can “strengthen” the right side of the heart of HLHS patients enough to “delay — or even prevent — the need for heart transplants” later in life, according to MayoClinic.org.
The Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects including HLHS. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies. To contact the program, email HLHS@mayo.edu.