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Joseph C. Wu, MD, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2018
For outstanding contributions towards using stem cells for disease modeling, drug screening, clinical trial in a dish, and precision medicine.

More Proof: E-Cigarettes Are Not Healthy

Via Health Central | May 28, 2019

You may have heard e-cigarettes are better for you than traditional cigarettes—and to some extent, that’s true: They contain fewer toxic chemicals than regular smokes, according to Hopkins Medicine. But that doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are actually healthy.

And now there’s a new reason to avoid them: The flavoring (called “e-liquid”) may up your risk of heart disease, according to a new study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that e-liquids harm the endothelial cells that line blood vessels and the heart. Along with causing increased DNA damage and cell death, the liquids also appear to interfere with blood vessel growth.

The study tested six popular flavors: tobacco, menthol, fruit, sweet tobacco with caramel and vanilla, sweet butterscotch, and cinnamon. Menthol and cinnamon were found to be the most harmful.

“Until now, we had no data about how these e-liquids affect human endothelial cells,” said senior study author Joseph Wu, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute and professor of cardiovascular medicine and of radiology. “This study clearly shows that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. When we exposed the cells to six different flavors of e-liquid with varying levels of nicotine, we saw significant damage… Continue reading.

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Lab-grown heart cells reveal secrets of “kissing bug” disease

Via Stanford University | May 21, 2019

You may have heard a buzz of news recently about the spread of the so-called “kissing bug” throughout the United States. Bloodsuckers that prefer to bite sleeping people around the mouth and eyes, the insect is undeniably ugly (you can thank me later for not sharing a picture — click here if you’d like to take a gander). But more importantly, they can spread a parasite to humans that causes Chagas disease.

People infected with the parasite, called Trypanosoma cruzi, develop (among other symptoms) fever, aches, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting. About 30 percent of those infected go on to develop chronic Chagas disease, which can cause long-term health complications including heart failure and digestive problems. Varieties of the bug are found in 28 states, mostly in the southern parts of the country. It is widespread in South America, and Chagas disease is estimated to contribute to more than 10,000 deaths each year.

Now cardiologist and stem cell researcher Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, together with visiting scholar Adriana Bozzi, PhD, have used lab-grown heart muscle cells called cardiomyocytes to investigate at a cellular level how the infection spread by the bugs affects cardiac function. They published their findings recently in Stem Cell Reports… Continue reading.

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Drug could alleviate side effects of chemo for breast cancer patients

Via Stanford University | March 29, 2019

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have demonstrated a method of forecasting which breast cancer patients will suffer heart problems from a commonly used chemotherapy drug.

The researchers also found that a class of medications already approved by the Food and Drug Administration may mitigate these side effects.

“We could use this method to find out who’s going to develop chemo-related toxicity and who’s not,” said Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and of radiology and director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. “And now we have an idea about the cardioprotective medications we can give them… Continue reading.

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Study solves mystery of genetic-test results for patient with suspected heart condition

Via Stanford Medicine | June 26, 2018

Although DNA testing is becoming increasingly quick, cheap and easy to perform, the results are sometimes ambiguous: Gene mutations called “variants of uncertain significance” can create uncertainty about a patient’s risk for a disease.

“This is a really big problem,” said Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, professor of cardiovascular medicine and of radiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “If someone tells me I have a genetic variant that could cause sudden cardiac death, I’m going to be very scared. The result could be a lifetime of unnecessary worry for a patient when, in fact, the variant may be completely benign.”

Now, Wu and a team of researchers have developed a technique that could shed light on the significance of such variants. In a new paper, they discuss how they used advanced genetic-editing tools and stem cell technology to determine whether a 39-year-old patient with one of these mysterious mutations was at increased risk for a heart-rhythm condition called long QT syndrome, which can cause erratic heartbeats, fainting and sudden cardiac death… Continue reading.

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Scientists edit heart muscle gene in stem cells, may be able to predict risk

Via CNN | June 18, 2018

In our human genome, there are many elusive genetic variants related to medical conditions, but the impact of these variants to actually cause a disease has not been conclusively determined — or ruled out.
In other words, the impact certain variants could have on your health remains a guessing game.
But a new study involving the gene-editing tool CRISPR could change that.

The study, published in the journal Circulation on Monday, demonstrates for the first time how pairing CRISPR with induced pluripotent stem cell technology could be used to determine the risk of a genetic variant for cardiovascular disease… Continue reading.

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Dr. Joseph Wu Inducted into Medical and Biological Engineering Elite

Via AIMBE | April 10, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Joseph C. Wu, MD, Ph.D., Simon H. Stertzer Endowed Professor of Medicine & Radiology; Director, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, Department of Medicine (Division of Cardiology) & Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, to its College of Fellows. Dr. Wu was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows for outstanding contributions towards using stem cells for disease modeling, drug screening, clinical trial in a dish, and precision medicine.

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