The Paris-based Leducq Foundation has awarded researchers at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Clemson University, and a collaboration of other institutions in the US and Europe, $6M to establish a Transatlantic Network of Excellence focused on developing improved support decisions for treating children born with only one functioning heart ventricle. These patients require radical and complex heart surgeries to alter blood flow in order to live. This Network will use computational fluid flow models of a patient's own anatomy to allow physicians to perform virtual surgeries, and to observe the effects of different decisions based on the individual patient's data. Additional US Network members include researchers at University of California-San Diego and University of Michigan Medical Center in the United States. European researchers are based in University College of London's Institute for Childrens Health, Politecnico di Milano, and Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique - Paris.
The grant will be headed by pioneering pediatric heart surgeon, Dr. Marc deLeval, and by MUSC heart surgeon Dr. Tain-Yen Hsia. Clemson engineering Professor Richard Figliola will coordinate the engineering efforts across the Network. He and his students will develop experimental validation methods for the computer models, including life-like replicas of specific patient blood vessels, and will lead new research to advance the understanding of the mechanics of ventricle-artery couplings.
The work of the Network encompasses research intended to develop new transformative knowledge about the interaction of blood vessels and the heart muscle, as well as translational research intended to apply state-of-the-art engineering tools to improve patient-specific clinical decisions by physicians.
The Leducq Foundation announcement is available at http://www.fondationleducq.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=114.