Cardiac research center holds promise for patients

Tamman Cardiovascular Research Center at Sheba hope to to produce hormones that repair damaged hearts.

Sheba Hospital ceremony (photo credit: Sheba Hospital)
Sheba Hospital ceremony
(photo credit: Sheba Hospital)
Researchers at Sheba Medical Center’s new Tamman Cardiovascular Research Center 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, Jews of Egyptian origin who are in real estate in Geneva. Five generations of Tammans were present at the dedication ceremony at Sheba last week of the research center, on the spacious top floor of the new Leviev Heart Center.
The multimillion-dollar at Tel Hashomer research facility, which includes state-ofthe- art labs and is apparently the only one in the country to focus on cardiovascular research, is staffed by 20 physicians, scientists, investigators, students and assistants.
Sheba director-general Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein, who attended the ceremony with heart institute director Prof. Micha Eldar and Tamman Center director Prof. Jonathan Leor, said that management decided on the unique project a few years ago and “finally it has been implemented in a breathtaking way. It is the diamond in the crown.”
Solomon Tamman, the couple’s son, said that all the family members were called on to help in the project.
“We are here, five generations of us, to see from close up the wonderful work going on in this leading center. A strong Israel is the source of power and hope for all Jews in the world.”
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.
“Basic genetic, molecular and other research on unexplained findings in hospital patients will lead to better treatments,” he said.
Among the methods and subjects besides the use of stem cells that are being developed are engineering of cardiac tissues, study of the genetics of cardiovascular diseases, angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels) and work on irregular heartbeats at the cellular level.
“There is potential for treating peripheral vascular diseases, atherosclerosis, ischemia, cardiomyopathies, congenital defects and other diseases,” he said.
Cardiac research has been carried out in other Sheba facilities for two decades and more, but the additional space and equipment, as well as more students will make it possible to boost that considerably, Leor added.
The center has cooperation agreements with other Israeli institutes and with foreign ones in places like Harvard University, the University of Virginia, New York University and the University of Southern California, as well as others in Europe, he said.