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Indian-American Surgeon to Bring Low-Cost Heart Therapy to India

  By posted Aug 7th 2012



*Images courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

*Text courtesy IANS

Dr Mukesh Hariawala, an award winning Indian-American artificial heart surgeon, is set to introduce a unique low-cost "triple heart therapy" in India to help patients with diabetes who cannot afford expensive bypass operations.

Harvard trained Boston based Hariawala will receive "India's Most Admired Surgeon 2012" award for pioneering work on angiogenesis or growth of new blood vessels to aid healing, at the Pharmaceutical Leadership Summit, organised by healthcare magazine Pharmaleaders, in Mumbai on Sep 21.

"I am pleased that cutting edge Angiogenesis Therapy will help the non affording poor patients with heart disease in my motherland India and rest of the world, thus reducing the global economic burden of healthcare," Hariawala told IANS.

"Hariawala is the first NRI Surgeon to be honoured with this prestigious award for pioneering work on Angiogenesis that will revolutionise treatment of heart disease globally and save millions of lives," said award committee chairman Satya Brahma, editor-in-chief of Pharmaleaders magazine.

Hariawala, who has done pioneering work in Angiogenesis research at Harvard in Boston, said Triple Heart Therapy" involves spontaneous development of new blood vessels in the heart by laser stimulation and subsequent injection of patient's own stem cells harvested from bone marrow.

This "would be the future treatment of heart disease which is expected to save millions of lives worldwide," said Hariawala calling "It a natural bypass to bypass surgery."

"I want to see a vibrant and aggressive government policy where India's monetary resources are better utilised towards rural development and raising the standards of living for all Indians," he said.

Hariawala, who holds a special honorary visiting cardiac surgeon appointment at Mumbai's Jaslok Hospital, also plans to bring to India next year the artificial Titanium Heart or Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) implant that can play the role of a supplementary heart.

Powered by lithium ion battery, it can play the role of a bridge till a transplant heart is available as was in the case of former US Vice President Dick Cheney.

Hariawala, who himself has not played any research role in development of this device and is only responsible for taking the technology to India, hopes to get regulatory approvals in India by 2013.

The current FDA approved devices in US and Europe cost about $100,000, excluding expenses for surgery.

The price point for India is not established but is expected to be high initially, he said. But competition is expected to reduce the price in the long term as six US companies currently manufacture the device.

In India it will be offered not as a bridge to transplantation but a permanent solution also called "destination therapy," he said.




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