April 3rd, 2011

From Far in the Future to the Here and Now: Reflections on the Translational Research Symposium and a Session on VADs

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending ACC.11 this week are blogging together on CardioExchange. The Fellows include Sandeep Mangalmurti, Hansie Mathelier, John Ryan (moderating and providing an outsider’s view from Chicago), Amit Shah, and Justin Vader. See the next post in this series, and check back often to learn about the biggest buzz in New Orleans.

This is my first ACC conference, so I’ll be playing the role of naïf in this blog series.

Saturday was a quiet day at the convention center compared to what I am sure the following days will offer, but it was an ideal way for me to get my feet wet. I went to a session on a topic I know very little about and probably won’t touch on my personal practice for another 20 years at best, and I went to another session offered by Mayo that touched on common questions that have arisen just recently.

The Translational Research Symposium’s early session offered a look at stem cell therapy’s recent successes and perspective on where the field might head. Most of the data presented were in mesenchymal stem cells, though a interesting concept presented by Dr Fernando Aviles involved liposuction in the cath lab, followed by a proprietary process of centrifugation of the fat and reinjection of stem cells. The data for the adiposed-derived stem cells appeared to be modest, but the idea of combining a cosmetic procedure with cell-based therapy is pretty slick. I know a few patients that could benefit from a dozen or so of these procedures. One word of caution should you go hunting for video on the internet – liposuction is really violent and if you have my kind of stomach you could find yourself quickly nauseated. More seriously in this field, the thought is that stem-cell therapies for treatment-refractory angina are closest to the point of being considered by the FDA and the functional data from the ACT-34 trial presented by Dr Henry look impressive, particularly compared side-by-side with the ranolazine data for this group of patients who we all struggle with managing.

Later I was thwarted in my attempt to see an update on acute heart failure pharmacotherapies – the room was overflowing. What could have possibly transpired in acute heart failure in the last year? Serendipitously I ran into some old residency classmates from Dallas as I made my way to the overflow room and together we found a satellite course from Mayo Clinic on VADs – an area I’m interested in. As a bonus, there was lunch! Mayo’s course offerings are always strong in my experience and I have to say I admire their industriousness in generating revenue via these courses almost as much as I do the content. Echo course in paradise? Congenital conference in wine country? Brilliant! Sign me up!

Today, Sunday, is another day as I sit here in the overflow room for the PARTNER presentation. The carnival of vendors is alive and rolling downstairs and the environment upstairs is more business-like. We’ll see if there’s lunch to be had.

For more of our ACC.11 coverage of late-breaking clinical trials, interviews with the authors of the most important research, and blogs from our fellows on the most interesting presentations at the meeting, check out our Coverage Roundup.

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