Pulse on Health: Regenerative medicine guru shines light on cardiology
The director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine has received the American Heart Association's 2014 Basic Research Prize.
An auditorium filed with thousands of researchers honored Dr. Andre Terzic at the 2014 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago as the group's sole annual recipient.
"In more than 500 publications, Dr. Terzic and his team have advanced pioneering uses of multiple cardio-protective and cardio-regenerative techniques," says the award presentation.
"It's pretty humbling," Terzic told me, "because I have the list of those who have received it before, and it's essentially Nobel Prize winners."
Terzic laughed off the possibility that he himself might be in line for a Nobel. He acknowledged his appreciation, but deflected praise, preferring that it be heaped instead upon his team, researchers around the globe through the decades, and Mayo Clinic staff (during the clinic's sesquicentennial and during the cardiology-division's 100th anniversary).
Heart disease has deadly consequences, killing 20 million people worldwide each year‚ one-third of all deaths globally, Terzic said. Researchers must study heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.
"So it's not a small task," Terzic said.
Research is bringing new technology, medical techniques and discoveries directly to patients more often. Discovery, translation and patient application are turning into a conveyor belt of new ways to offer treatment, Terzic said.
His award honors him for "discovery and development of next-generation regenerative therapies" and for making those discoveries rapidly available to patients.
Terzic told me earlier this year that Phase III trials he's involved with in Europe, studying regenerative-medicine treatments to repair heart attack damage, if successful, would mean "regenerative medicine is poised to offer new options for renewed heart health."
Pause for a moment and let that sink in.
Terzic, honored as 2014's research-laboratory leader making "outstanding contributions to carciosvascular science," said he imagines a century from now that prevention will be a top focus — so some people don't ever deal with heart disease.
And, in cases where a person has heart disease despite prevention efforts, he hopes treatment will be available to delay the effects of it. And Terzic hopes scientists will uncover the root cause "leading to a 'curative solution.'"
"That's really the ultimate goal," he said.
If you bump into Terzic, brush aside his humble pie and tell him what his future-view means to you.