Page 140 - Faculty of Health Sciences

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UCT Research Report '11
Contact Details
Postal Address: Division of Otolaryngology, Faculty of
Health Sciences, Anzio Road, Observatory, 7925
Tel: +27 21 406 6420
Fax: +27 21 448 8865
UCT General enquiries: +27 21 650 9111
UCT web:
Chris Barnard Division of
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Head of Division: Professor Peter Zilla
Divisional Profile
The Division offers the full range of adult and paediatric
cardiac and thoracic surgery services, including
all forms of congenital heart disease, myocardial
revascularisation (both on – and off-pump), cardiac
valvular surgery including an active valve repair program
to preserve the patient’s own valves rather than replace
them with prostheses. We also offer thoracic aortic
surgery. The only technologies we do not have access
to are long-term left ventricular assist devices and the
artificial heart both of which are prohibitively expensive
in a developing world situation. We are in the process
of setting up a ‘hybrid operating theatre’ enabling us
to offer the most recent development in heart valve
replacement, namely transcatheter delivered valve
prostheses which in many ways will be the ideal manner
of the replacement of valves in a third world setting.
As this technology is prohibitively expensive special
training-arrangements were entered with the commercial
valve providers to make it affordable under public
hospital circumstances. Moreover, our cardiovascular
research laboratories have been focusing on developing
alternative transcatheter devices specifically aimed
at the needs of a developing country; this includes
collaborative studies with the medical device industry
and other international academic units to allow newer
and more cost-effective devices to become available to
us. In this context, a UCT start-up company was formed
around IP developed in the Cardiovascular Research
Unit, receiving substantial funding – inter alia from the
Department of Science and Technology’s ‘Technology
Innovation Agency’ (TIA).
Divisional Profile (Cardiovascular Research Unit)
2011 saw a final move away from industry funding to
academic grants as our long-term collaboration with a
leading global medical device company came to an end.
The Western Cape Heart Research Grouping of the Medical
Research Council, of which the Cardiovascular Research
Unit is a member, was formally reviewed and extended for
another five year term. New collaborative projects between
the Groups members were identified and initiated.
A most significant growth was experienced by our
biomechanics group that has current ongoing grants to the
amount of 5 ½ million Rand.
Our unit is also aparticipant inWelcomegrant in collaboration
with the Department of Medical Biochemistry, and a NRF
grant supporting our research on the biomechanics of
cardiovascular devices. After having been awarded a new
angiography unit for our research laboroatories in 2008
by the NRF we received another major equipment grant
for a state-of-the-art echocardiography machine for our
experimental surgical suite.
Research focusing on the cell biology of the process of
neovascularisation has spear-headed our regenerative
medicine approach to facilitating the body’s own ability to
remodel semi-synthetic prostheses. In this regard, a small
animal circulatory vascular model for screening of graft
healing has been fully established and is providing very
promising initial results.
Additionally, a model for assessment of the regenerative
capacity of synthetic hydrogels in the treatment of
heart failure induced by myocardial infarction has been
established and has led to published results and interest
from overseas collaborators.
Postgraduate training remained a priority in 2011.
Interdigitation between our clinical staff and researchers
also remains a key goal for which the Division continues to
Divisional Statistics
Permanent and Long Term Contract Staff
Associate Professors
Senior Consultants
Senior Lecturer
Supernumerary Registrars
Surgical Registrar
Medical Officer
Senior Scientific Officer
Administrative Officer
Senior Medical Technologist
Clinical Technologist/Perfusionist
Laboratory Assistant