Unlocking Heart Mysteries

Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, has been fascinated by the human heart since he was in medical school. “In those days, everyone thought of the heart as a mechanical pump, almost as a plumber or engineer would think of a piece of equipment,” he says, “but its inner workings were a mystery.”

Captivated by this mystery, Dr. Marbán has devoted his career to exploring the heart on a molecular level. Today, he’s pioneering one of the most promising areas in cardiology: stem cell research. In an unprecedented clinical trial, Cedars-Sinai heart attack patients treated with stem cells generated new heart tissue. “This is the first time anyone has grown living heart muscle,” says Dr. Marbán. “It’s very gratifying, especially when the conventional wisdom has been that the damage is irreversible.”

With more studies underway, Dr. Marbán’s research is redefining heart science—and one man’s fascination is now a source of hope for countless patients.

More Profiles