How HeartWorks is trying to cure congenital heart defects

(ABC 6 NEWS) – HeartWorks is a non-profit based in Rochester. On Wednesday, the non-profit gave a virtual tour of its manufacturing facility where they are trying to cure congenital heart defects.

HeartWorks started in June 2020 to expand the product development led by the Todd and Karen Wanek Family Program for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome founded at Mayo Clinic in 2010.

The goal of HeartWorks is to create new heart tissue and ultimately cure congenital heart disease.

People had a chance to see what technology the non-profit is using to reach that goal.

"In our lab, what we essentially do is we take a piece of your skin a piece of your skin we grow the cells out of your skin just like you would if you were healing a scar, and we train that skin to become your beating heart muscle," Dr. Tim Nelson with HeartWorks said.

The lab takes the cells through multiple steps and it takes up to nine months of processing to do this.

Now they are looking to take this to the next level.

"Using this autologous cell you can imagine planting it into an existing heart that is weak that is missing a part missing a muscle mass and strengthen it. You are literally rebuilding the heart. So this is the vision we plan on doing with the FDA permission in 2022," Nelson said.

HeartWorks has worked with the FDA and they said they have used animal models to see how safe and effective these cells are.

They are asking for permission to try this on the first human patient in June.

You can learn more about HeartWorks here.