Dr. Sergio Lavandero, National Science Award: «Heart failure is a kind of new cancer».
The fourth version of the symposium «From the Fundamental Sciences to the Clinical Arena in Medicine» was held with the participation of the outstanding academic, scientist and winner of the National Prize for Natural Sciences 2022, Sergio Lavandero.
The meeting organized by the Department of Internal Medicine of the School of Medicine of the Universidad de Valparaíso, in alliance with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, United States, focused this time on the field of research and findings associated with cardiovascular diseases, from a translational perspective.
The meeting brought together more than a hundred professionals, specialists, teachers, researchers and graduate students from the UV and other universities in the country, who attentively followed the presentations of the nine invited speakers, among whom was also the professor of the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering of the Mayo Clinic, Gary Sieck.
The welcome to the symposium was given by the director of the Department of Internal Medicine of the School of Medicine and general director of the activity, Rienzi Díaz, who expressed his pleasure at having been able to resume its realization after its forced suspension during the last three years, due to the pandemic.
«We are very happy to meet again and start a new cycle, to show the synergic work of the world of fundamental sciences and the clinic, with a view to sharing and reflecting on different lines of research, experiences and knowledge derived from the work carried out in different universities in our country,» said Dr. Diaz.
The first speaker was the academic, scientist and winner of the National Prize for Natural Sciences 2022, Sergio Lavandero, who presented the topic «Molecular and cellular mechanisms in the development of heart failure».
During his presentation, Lavandero, who is also a professor at the Faculties of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Medicine of the University of Chile, spoke about the progress of cardiovascular pathologies in Chile, as part of a group of chronic, non-transmissible or culturally transmissible diseases, as they are often the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors.
According to Lavandero, these diseases are today the leading cause of death globally, above even cancer and phenomena such as war, murder, respiratory diseases and natural catastrophes, among others.
«In Chile, about one third of the population (twenty-seven percent) dies as a result of cardiovascular diseases, a percentage similar to that of the United States (31 percent) and lower than that of China, where it is around 45 percent. The difference is that China has more than one billion inhabitants, the United States more than three hundred and we have barely eighteen million. In any case, this shows that in the world this type of pathology has reached an important dimension,» said the researcher.
Lavandero argued that the complexity that Chile faces in this matter is that its population has been aging progressively and that, in addition, it is characterized by being increasingly subject to risk factors.
In fact, one third of Chileans smoke, three quarters have weight problems – 33 percent are directly obese – one out of every four people over the age of eighteen is hypertensive, a significant percentage also drink to excess, twelve out of every one hundred are diabetic and almost ninety percent are sedentary.
In this regard, the director of the Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases (ACCDIS) and adjunct professor at the Southwestern University Medical Center in Dallas (United States) explained that this has created an ideal scenario for the emergence of cardiovascular diseases and especially heart failure, a disease that is becoming increasingly prevalent and has a higher incidence in the older adult population.
«People do not understand that generally when they are diagnosed with heart failure it is already advanced, we could say in a terminal stage or that it represents the terminal stage of other cardiovascular diseases. One can start with hypertension, have a myocardial infarction, have arrhythmias, which ultimately leads to heart failure. It is known that within five years of diagnosis, half of the elderly patients with these conditions are dead. In other words, we can say that heart failure is like cancer, a kind of new cancer,» said Lavandero.
In addition, the National Science Prize winner warned that in Chile – as in several countries of the world whose population is aging – an even more complex situation is arising. Before, we were accustomed to only one type of heart failure, the traditional one, which was due to the problems of the walls of the heart to contract, but for some time now we have been seeing in the world the appearance of a heart failure that occurs when a patient suffers from it when there are several comorbidities: being hypertensive, obese and diabetic.
«This is the triad that the average Chilean suffers from today, which can have very negative effects and which we are only just beginning to see,» concluded Sergio Lavandero.
In addition to Lavandero, the main speaker at the symposium was Gary Sieck, professor of the Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, who spoke on hypothermia and rewarming stress, mitochondrial remodeling with inflammation and neuroplasticity and functional recovery after cervical spinal cord injury.
Other speakers included Dr. Arlek González, who spoke on pathological mechanisms of centronuclear myopathy; Dr. Rienzi Díaz and Dr. Tamara Sáez, who presented «Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion: an unsolved phenomenon»; Dr. Zully Pedrozo, who reported on her findings on mechanosensors in the dynamics and regulation of cardiac T-tubule formation; and Dr. Tomás Egaña, who spoke on human photosynthesis as a new therapeutic strategy.
The third speaker was Dr. Claudio Aguayo, who spoke about the contribution of the LOX-1 receptor to endothelial dysfunction in atherosclerosis, and Professor Astrid Cancino, who discussed the impact of inflammation and oxidative stress on neuroimaging markers in acute stroke.
The meeting concluded with a meeting of students with academics and an exhibition of posters with the participation of teachers and students from the main research centers and doctoral programs of the institutions that took part in this event.
The presentations were recorded and those interested in viewing them can do so by clicking on the following links:
Honorary academic recognition as «Visiting Professor».
During the first day Dr. Sergio Lavandero, received the recognition as honorary academic of «Visiting Professor», for his outstanding scientific career and contributions to academic activities. «Thank you very much for this award, it is a privilege to be part of this institution and contribute to the advancement of medical science in regions» said Dr. Sergio.