For the last decade, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has been utilizing 3D printed heart models to assist doctors in the management of patients with complex congenital heart disease. This work was pioneered and driven by Dr Shi-Joon Yoo with the support of the surgeons, physicians and engineers within SickKids. Doctors now have a new tool in their armory to diagnose and plan treatment strategies for these patients, some with the rarest and most complex heart defects.
Bioinformatic research in University of Toronto incorporates state of the art techniques such as Whole Genome Sequencing, Single Cell RNA Sequencing, and deep Proteomics including post-translational protein modifications. These have been applied to promote understanding of pathophysiology and prognosis in congenital heart disease, heart failure, and thoracic aortic aneurysm/dissection.
Biomarker validation work incorporates both in vitro and in vivo model systems, including "organ on chip" platforms. Advanced molecular cloning and genetic engineering approaches are taken to elucidate mechanistic pathways, characterize downstream phenotypic effects, and design disease therapies for precision medicine.
University of Toronto has long been a focal point for clinical management and research in cardiac tumours. In 2016 the first Toronto Cardiac Tumour Conference was held, which brings the world's experts in the field of cardiac tumours on a yearly basis. More recently, the INTERACT project (INTernational Registry to Assess Cardiac Tumours), a multi-national, multidisciplinary endeavor to capture all cardiac tumours globally, brings together centres around the world to try to improve care and outcome in these very rare tumours.
University of Toronto researchers have leading roles in several multinational clinical trials in cardiac surgery. These clinical trials involve topics related to myocardial revascularization, aortic surgery, valve surgery, heart failure, and cardiovascular prevention. Current myocardial revascularization trials include STICH3C, ROMA, ROMA-W, NEWTON-CABG, CLEAR SYNERGY (OASIS-9), and ODIN. Current aortic surgery trials include HEADSTART and TITAN, while current valve surgery trials include the CTSNet trial series (mitral and tricuspid valve) and CAMRA. Current heart failure trials include EMPA-HEART and EMPA-HEART2, while current cardiovascular prevention trials include SELECT and VESALIUS.
Research in minimally invasive cardiac surgery runs in parallel to the comprehensive scope of interventions offered across our affiliated hospitals. A variety of less invasive approaches are performed for aortic, mitral, and tricuspid valve repairs or replacements, single- and multi-vessel coronary artery bypass surgeries, hybrid coronary artery revascularization, maze procedures for atrial fibrillation, as well as congenital repairs. Research in these areas includes the refinement and development of novel techniques such as complex valvular repair as well as the conduct of epidemiological studies to assess clinical outcomes contrasted against more traditional invasive surgical approaches.
The University of Toronto offers a robust surgical ablation program with clinical expertise in a range of surgical options for the treatment of atrial fibrillation including minimally invasive surgical ablation, and open surgical ablation. Current clinical research projects are aimed at defining the epidemiology of pre-operative atrial fibrillation in Canada, and evaluating the outcomes of patients with atrial fibrillation who undergo surgical ablation, and hybrid minimally invasive surgical ablation approaches.