Pioneering work on stem-cell therapies at UW deserves state support

By Charles Murry

IF you have a heart attack, hopefully you’ll survive. But your body will be forever changed. The world’s best doctors can’t undo the damage; instead, drugs and devices will help you live with a heart whose function too often dwindles.

The body cannot replace muscle cells that die in heart attacks — maladies that help make heart failure the No. 1 global cause of death and our nation’s biggest health care expense. These patients face daily medication, decreased energy and, for the lucky 0.1 percent, the ability to qualify for an extraordinarily costly heart transplant and anti-rejection medication that also leaves them more vulnerable to other diseases.

Thanks to medical advances, heart failure has become a chronic condition that people are now managing for decades. The same is true for diabetes, kidney disease and arthritis. But with that longevity comes a tether to drug regimens whose costs rise seemingly at whim.

Read the full story at The Seattle Times.