Mayo Clinic, Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia announce rare congenital heart defect collaboration

Mayo Clinic’s Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia are collaborating to delay and prevent heart failure from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare and complex form of congenital heart disease in which the left side of a child's heart is severely underdeveloped.

"We are very excited to be working with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to explore better treatment options for patients with hypoplastic left heart syndrome,” says Timothy Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director, Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. “By entering into this collaboration, we are making it possible for all children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome to be able to participate in cell-based treatments, no matter their location. This new hypoplastic left heart syndrome consortium significantly expands the reach of hypoplastic left heart syndrome research.”

“Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a long-standing history of caring for children with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and this exciting collaboration with Mayo Clinic offers promising opportunities to develop new ways to give patients an even better quality of life,” says Robert Shaddy, M.D., chief of Cardiology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “Lifesaving palliative surgery reroutes a child’s blood flow, but patients may have significant health problems, as they grow up with a unique circulation. Cell-based therapy offers us another potential option – beyond conventional medical treatments, ventricular assist devices or transplants – for a child or young adult with a failing heart.”

Suzanne Ferguson,
Mayo Clinic Public Affairs,
Joey McCool Ryan,
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Public Relations,
The collaboration is part of a consortium across the nation and will allow for a decrease in the amount of time from research and discovery to the clinical application of innovative cell-based therapies.
The consortium aligns regional centers into a nationwide collaboration led by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome at Mayo Clinic to accelerate innovation on hypoplastic left heart syndrome, discovery sciences, and clinical expertise by investing local resources back into research. The program seeks to work with five to seven regional centers across the U.S. to fund the development of cell-based innovative research opportunities to transform the lives of people living with hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
About the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
Founded in 2010, the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a collaborative network of specialists bonded by the vision of delaying or preventing heart failure for individuals affected by congenital heart defects, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome. The specialized team is addressing the various aspects of these defects by using research and clinical strategies ranging from basic science to diagnostic imaging to regenerative therapies.
About Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is ranked third by U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospital for Pediatric Cardiology and Heart Surgery. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit or