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Major Discoveries

25 years of discovery

Over the past 25 years, the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute has made a multitude of major advances in heart research, many revolutionising our understanding of disease causes, treatment and prevention. Here are just a few examples of what we have achieved;

2020

Our scientists in Western Australia have made a breakthrough discovery in the treatment of an inherited heart disease that is the leading cause of death in children aged between 5 and 15. Read the press release.

2019

Our researchers have discovered a metabolite that causes blood vessels to dilate and can lead to dangerously low blood pressure in patients suffering septicaemia, which kills 100 Australians each week. Read more. 

2018

In a world first, our scientists developed an ‘early warning system’ to help identify and treat people at high risk of heart attack – and prevent it from occurring. Find out more.

 

2017

Our scientists discovered that zebrafish have a special type of immune cell which enables them to heal their own hearts. The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is now exploring the potential of self-healing in humans. Read the press release.

 

2017

In a blockbuster breakthrough that could change the way pregnant women are cared for globally, our researchers discovered that vitamin B3 has the potential to reduce recurrent miscarriages and various birth defects. Read more. 

 

2015

Our scientists discovered how to limit the damage after a heart attack, which could help the 45,000 Australians who suffer a heart attack each year. Read the press release.

 

2014

Our professors developed the revolutionary Heart-in-a-Box transplantation technique using a unique preservation solution created at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. The discovery led to the world first transplantation of a heart that was revitalised after it had stopped beating.  The method has now been adopted at hospitals around the world, saving the lives of 30% more patients with severe heart failure. Discover more. 

 

2014

In another world first, our scientists develop a faster more reliable way of diagnosing patients at risk of sudden cardiac death by simulating hundreds of thousands of heart beats in a virtual heart. Read more. 

 

2014

Overturning a century of scientific dogma, we discovered that the heart can regenerate in pre-adolescents, which potentially means a heart could heal itself. Read the press release.

 

2013

Researchers have found that obesity and diabetes during pregnancy can cause children to develop metabolic problems later in life

 

2013

For the first time, our scientists show the importance of a single gene in forming the large vessels of the heart.   

 

2012

Thanks to our scientists, an entire family is cured of a life threatening, inherited heart rhythm disorder. Some family members had such severe heart failure they were on the transplant waiting list. 

 

2012

Our researchers made a fundamental discovery that shows for the first time how ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ interact to cause birth defects.

 

2011

Our scientists identify and characterise a new population of stem cells in the adult heart.

2011 

Our team demonstrates how the potassium channels that carry electricity around the heart open and close, controlling heartbeats.

 

2010

Our breakthrough discovery reveals how the tiny motors on bacteria allow them to move towards nutrients and away from toxins. This is crucial to the spread of infections, such as those causing serious heart conditions.

 

2009

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute develops a unique preservation solution to protect transplant hearts for up to eight hours out of a body. Previously four hours was the maximum time.

 

2009

Researchers discover that a poorly functioning placenta during pregnancy can affect kidney development of an unborn child.

2007

Our breakthrough discovery demonstrates that certain types of congenital heart defects occur at a much earlier stage in the development of a baby than ever expected.

 

2006

Scientists show that the diet of pregnant mothers can affect the health of their children and even their grandchildren.

 

2004

For the first time the Victor Chang Institute proves diseases can be caused not only by a defective gene (mutation), but by an inherited defect in the expression of a gene (an epi‑mutation).

 

2002

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute finds that a new drug treatment can slow the progression of pulmonary arterial hypertension – a serious and progressive disease.

 

1999

Our scientists discover the entire cellular machinery underlying growth and enlargement of skeletal muscle. 

 

1998

Researchers at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute participate in a major international trial that provides definitive proof that statins lower cholesterol and prevent death.

1997

Our scientists develop a non-invasive test to predict those at risk of stroke from a clot in the heart.  

1994

Ground-breaking research reveals an enzyme (previously only associated with clotting), actually has many functions and, uniquely, can also regulate how vigorously our hearts can beat.  

 

To continue our vital research into the disease that afflicts 4.2 million Australian men, women and children, we rely on the generosity of donors, fundraisers and supporters like you.

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