With state-of-the- art labs, 20 physicians, scientists, investigators, students and assistants, researchers at the new center at Tel Hashomer Hospital expect that in another two or three years heart patients will benefit from their discoveries, among them the production of adult stem cells from a small amount of adipose (fat) tissue around the heart, to produce hormones that repair damaged hearts.
The center was donated by the children of Gabi and Lina Tamman and five generations of Taemmans were present at the dedication ceremony at Sheba last month.
The research facility is the only one in Israel to focus on cardiovascular research. Tamman Center director Prof. Jonathan Leor told The Jerusalem Post that the research will eventually benefit not only older people with heart disease but also young people with congenital heart defects, as well as victims of other diseases.
“There is potential for treating peripheral vascular diseases, atherosclerosis, ischemia, cardiomyopathies, congenital defects and other diseases,” he said.
In addition to the use of stem cells, other subjects being developed include the engineering of cardiac tissues, the study of the genetics of cardiovascular diseases, angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) and work on irregular heartbeats at the cellular level.
The center has cooperation agreements with Israeli institutes and with foreign centers at Harvard University, the University of Virginia, New York University and the University of Southern California, as well as others in Europe.