Funding a Cure for CHD
Cure? Yes, cure. Have we all lost our minds to think there could possibly be a cure for a congenital condition? Maybe, but hear me out… Four years ago, my husband and I founded Project Heart as a way to fund Congenital Heart Disease research. This past weekend at our Little Hearts | Big Art fundraising event we unveiled our new, revamped logo and our more focused mission. Project Heart is a research and development nonprofit organization on a mission to cure CHD in 20 years. There’s that word again, cure.
Building a Heart
So what does that even mean? What would a cure for CHD look like? Currently, the technology exists to retrieve stem cells from a simple blood draw from your arm. This blood can be spun down and the specialize stem cells can be extracted. Stem cells are special because they can be used to grow any kind of cell in the body – including cardiomyocytes, or heart muscle cells.
Under the right conditions, these cardiomyocytes could be manipulated to grow a heart valve in a dish. And one day even a whole heart. When a heart is grown with your own stem cells, there is no waiting on a donor list. There’s no rejection to worry about. No medicines to take that suppress the body’s natural immune system. Just a healthy version of your own heart ready for transplant. That, my friend, is a cure for CHD.
Making a Difference
So this weekend we threw a big party. The Little Hearts | Big Art event was a ton of fun, but most importantly, it raised enough money to fund a post-doc researcher dedicated to furthering the field of tissue engineering and stem cell regeneration. We still have a lot of work to do before we can grow a heart, but it’s a step in the right direction. Follow along with Project Heart on Facebook and Instragram to watch the path to a cure for CHD unfold.