Cardiovascular Disease Research Programs

At LIMR, we engage in basic, preclinical and clinical cardiovascular research, and we work closely with our colleagues at the Lankenau Heart Institute, one of the top-performing cardiovascular medicine and surgery centers in the country.

Center for Clinical Cardiology

Advancing cardiovascular medicine: Building upon a legacy

Heart care advancements are made possible by constantly pushing science's boundaries and a collective commitment to research.

Directed by internationally renowned physician and researcher William A. Gray, MD, the Philip D. Robinson Chair in Cardiovascular Diseases, the Center for Clinical Cardiology is a recognized leader in innovative clinical cardiology and cardiac surgery research.

From the beginning, Lankenau Heart Institute has set a high standard for patient care, physician education and training, and clinical research. Its success has required a concerted organizational commitment to patient care and safety. This synergy has enabled Lankenau Heart Institute to offer more options and a tailored and individualized treatment plan. Ultimately, research and clinical heart care teams like ours offer hope to patients who feel they've exhausted their options.

The international reputation that Lankenau Heart Institute attained for its research and patient care made possible the recruitment of Dr. Gray, an interventional cardiologist and Chief of Cardiovascular Diseases, and Basel Ramlawi, MD, Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Both also serve as co-directors of Lankenau Heart Institute and professors at Lankenau Institute for Medical Research.

Dr. Gray is an interventional cardiologist and nationally recognized leader in coronary, endovascular and structural heart interventions. He is often called upon to consult on development of both device and protocol design for national multicenter clinical trials of experimental devices, which has led to his increasing role as national principal investigator. He has led several clinical studies leading to FDA approval or clearance for new interventional devices.

Dr. Gray was instrumental in bringing the FDA's Early Feasibility Studies to Lankenau Heart Institute, making it among a handful of sites designated to conduct these first-in-human clinical research trials. Coordinators in the Center for Clinical Cardiology support investigators working on cardiovascular drug and medical device development and clinical care methodologies

Dr. Ramlawi is a nationally recognized cardiac surgeon-scientist and leader in minimally invasive surgical and transcatheter approaches to complex valve and aortic disease. He has worked to advance the evolution of cardiac valve, aortic and arrhythmia procedures to less invasive approaches that achieve improved clinical outcomes with quicker recovery. He has been an active researcher in all phases of development of new cardiac devices and procedures, from early feasibility studies to practice-changing multicenter randomized clinical trials. He has served as principal investigator for more than 20 clinical studies.

Access to highly selective clinical trials

Through our integrated research and clinical care teams at Lankenau Heart Institute, we're able to offer less invasive, newer-generation devices like transcatheter-based therapies to repair or replace the mitral, aortic or tricuspid valve. We offer among the highest numbers of mitral valve innovative therapies in the U.S. This is heavily due to our team at Lankenau Heart Institute, singularly focused on patient care through the collaboration of research, clinical practice and education.

We have an expansive inventory of the most advanced cardiovascular clinical trials, encompassing medical and surgical devices, drug therapy and minimally invasive options. Notably, many of these developments have become the standard of care for patients.

Our clinical research focus spans the field of cardiovascular disease, including the following:

  • Arrhythmias
  • Complex aortic disease (aneurysm/dissection)
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Left atrial appendage occlusion
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Preventive cardiology
  • Structural heart and valvular disease (mitral, aortic and tricuspid valves)

Our team also coordinates and supports investigators working on cardiovascular drug development, devices and clinical-care methodologies.

For more on CCC, please contact Ann Marie Chikowski, MBA, RN, CCRC, division manager of cardiovascular research, at 484.476.3030 or [email protected].

Basic and preclinical research

In our basic research component, we study underlying causes of life-threatening arrhythmias, including pathogenic genetic defects. We also investigate how ion channels regulate blood pressure and the electrical signals that drive heartbeat. And we engage in bioengineering studies aimed at growing new hearts from a patient's own skin cells or blood cells. Our hope is that these cells will not be rejected, thus sparing the transplant patient a lifetime of anti-rejection medications.

We also focus on developing new drugs and devices to correct heartbeat disorders, treat and prevent heart attacks and strokes, and avert heart failure. Work is also dedicated to monitoring and analyzing our clinical progress in improving patient outcomes.

World-class scientist and heart rhythm expert Charles Antzelevitch, PhD, executive director of cardiovascular research, spearheads efforts to develop new treatments for abnormal and potentially deadly heart rhythms.