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Clinical Research

Research activities are ongoing in all three clinical programs and we are extremely excited about these activities. Highlights from these activities are listed below.

Dr. Mark Rodefeld is performing large animal research to investigate alternative methods and procedures associated with single ventricle repair. As you know, hypoplastic left heart syndrome offers few options for repair and is often associated with high mortality. As it is currently performed, hypoplastic left heart syndrome is palliated in a series of three operations. The first stage, performed in the first two weeks of life is notorious for instability and high mortality. Dr. Rodefeld has gathered successful preliminary data in a sheep study, which utilizes a novel surgical approach by combining elements of each of the staged operations into one operation. He is on the verge of presenting his exciting results at various cardiovascular meetings and is actively applying for grant support to continue investigation of this novel approach to a complex clinical problem. Dr. Rodefeld has also successfully established in a relatively short period of time a mentor relationship for a number of pre-doctoral medical students and post-doctoral research fellows.

Dr. Daniel Meldrum's research lab is currently supported by 6 peer-reviewed grants from the National Institutes of Health and 2 grants from the American Heart Association, including 5 training awards.  Dr. Meldrum's research focuses on learning how stem cells protect our organs from damage and how male and female hearts are different.  Dr. Meldrum's and his colleagues are working to engineer better stem cells, to optimize protection, enhance survival and minimize damage.  They are also working to develop novel therapies that take advantage of the natural differences that exist between male and female hearts.  Key lab personnel include Drs. Meijing Wang, Yue Wang, Paul Crisostomo, Troy Markel, and Ms. Christine Herring. 

Dr. Kesler has developed a strong clinical research program, with participation in studies that are part of cooperative cancer groups (ECOG, ACOSOG) as well as his own investigator initiated proposals. He actively enters patients on ECOG trials and serves as the national surgical principal investigator for ECOG's JBR-10. Two ACOSOG multisite studies regarding PET scanning are currently underway and accruing patients. These studies are investigating the role of PET in the clinical staging process for esophageal and lung cancer. Dr. Kesler also has several ongoing clinical studies relating to esophageal cancer, thoracoscopically guided Heller myotomy, and germ cell tumors. Within his research, he has also been successful in promoting the educational mission of the school by involving medical students in these internally funded studies. As a member of the thoracic team, Dr. Jo Ann Brooks has two ongoing studies relating to health-related quality of life. One focuses on esophageal cancer and is supported by the NIH through a Center grant in the School of Nursing and the second focuses on lung cancer and was previously funded by a IU Health Values grant. In addition, Dr. Brooks completed her R29 NIH funding regarding postoperative pulmonary complications and is planning continued work in this area. The thoracic program has been highly successful in developing its clinical research agenda and will continue to grow.

Along with the above-mentioned studies, the rest of the faculty continue to be involved in their own research activities and are continuously working collaboratively with industry in studies that will eventually extend the lives of our patients and provide for better patient care. Other current research projects include:

  • Medtronic - $100,000 - Study involves a biological valved conduit of bovine jugular vein to be used primarily for patients who need reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract. This would be used as a permanent surgical implant for patients who have stenosis of the pulmonary outflow tract.
  • Cardiogenesis Corp. - TMR - $10,000 per patient, project enrollment of 75 patients.
  • Cardiogenesis Corp. - Mechanism of Function of TMR
  • Cardiogenesis Corp. - Assessing the Electrophysiologic Effects of TMR on the Canine Myocardium.
  • Cardiogenesis Corp./Indiana Chapter AHA - Study on the Arrhythmogenic Potential of TMR on the Canine Heart
  • Medtronic - Cardioblate: Surgical radiofrequency (RF) ablation of atrial fibrillation
  • Chaplaincy Department, IU Health - Measuring the effect of pastoral interventions on anxiety, depression, hope and religious coping in the CABG patient.
  • Medtronic - SEE Cannula
  • St. Jude Medical - Toronto stentless porcine heart valve.
  • St. Jude Medical - A prospective randomized study of the St. Jude aortic connector system for use in the autologous vein to aorta anastomoses.
  • Guidant - Sternal cardioversion system for postoperative atrial fibrillation.
  • Site Investigator - Multi-institutional VA trial comparing medical management to coronary revascularization in patients undergoing major reconstructive surgery for peripheral vascular occlusive disease.
  • Principal Investigator - "On pump vs off pump coronary revascularization" - This is a prospective, but non-randomized trial evaluating the release of inflammatory mediators during surgical coronary revascularization with and without the use of cardiopulmonary bypass.
  • Collaborating investigator - "Gender differences in the development of pulmonary hypertension" - This is a rodent study of the effects of gender on the development of pulmonary hypertension after monocrotaline injection.
  • Co-Investigator - "Ultra fast CT screening for lung cancer" - This is a VA trial evaluating the cost and benefit of using ultrafast chest CT to screen for lung cancer among asymptomatic patients with coronary artery disease.
  • Consultant - "PCI vs. surgical revascularization for multivessel coronary artery disease in diabetics" This is a proposal for a multi-institutional randomized prospective trial for the evaluation of surgical revascularization versus percutaneous revascularization in diabetics with two or more significant coronary artery stenosis.

Department of Surgery | 545 Barnhill Drive, Emerson Hall 203, Indianapolis, In 46202 | Phone: (317) 274-5771