The Cardiovascular Innovations Laboratory represents a team-based effort of Drs. William Chilian, Vahagn Ohanyan and Liya Yin that is directed to solve current conundrums in heart and vascular diseases using strategies designed to challenge conventional dogma. Dr. Chilian brings extensive expertise in the understanding of the regulation of coronary blood flow and a comprehensive view of mechanisms underlying the growth of coronary collateral vessels. Dr. Ohanyan is a skilled cardiovascular physiologist and micro-surgeon with expertise in the use of echocardiography to measure blood flow and cardiac function in preclinical models of heart disease and heart failure. Dr. Yin is an accomplished vascular biologist and molecular biologist with an extensive background in vascular development and molecular biology. Together the three investigators have formed the Cardiovascular Innovations Laboratory at Northeast Ohio Medical School with the goal of approaching unsolved research problems and/or clinical conundrums in cardiology and vascular disease.
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To provide perspective into why this laboratory was developed, it is known that diseases of the heart and blood vessels are the Number One cause of death in the USA. Every 30 seconds an individual in the US dies from heart and vascular diseases. These diseases can lead to heart attacks and stroke, costing the US healthcare system around 50 billion dollars per year. Also, working capacity and lifestyle are compromised for millions. The risk of developing heart and vascular diseases is greatly increased by diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Despite these sobering statistics, many current treatments for heart and vascular diseases only slow the progression of the disease. For example, if someone is diagnosed with congestive heart failure, if untreated the person’s life expectancy is around 3-4 years. The best state-of-the-art clinical therapy provides up to an extra 3 years of life. The rhetorical question we pose is: “If the cause of the disease were targeted could the progression be stopped or even reversed?” We believe the answer is yes and in one of our current projects we can stop and even reverse the progression of heart failure.