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Heart to Heart from Dr. James T. Willerson

March 28, 2012

Dear Friend of the Texas Heart Institute,

I have two pieces of news to share with you today.

First, we all know Houston has heart, and certainly some of the biggest hearts around can be found at some of our finest restaurants. Mockingbird Bistro, Ristorante Cavour, Tony's, Tony Mandola's, and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse are all demonstrating that this coming month.

Enjoy a meal and support THI April 15 -30 at some of Houston's finest restaurants.
For two weeks–April 15 to April 30–each of these outstanding establishments will help us raise awareness of heart and vascular disease and offer a special fixed-price meal, with $5 from each meal coming here to support research programs at the nonprofit Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital.

We are calling this delicious campaign, Houston Has Heart! and urge you to join us beginning April 15 in enjoying these meals and thanking each of the generous restaurateurs for their support of our work. Find out more at

Second, I call your attention to our ever-advancing stem cell research at THI: "Study Shows Potential for Stem Cell Therapy in Patients Suffering from Severe Heart Failure" (learn more here). 

Dr. Emerson Perin, Texas Heart Institute Stem Cell Center, presents study results.My colleague, Dr. Emerson Perin, led off the American College of Cardiology annual Scientific Session this past weekend in Chicago with a presentation on the largest clinical trial to date, showing that adult stem cells derived from a patient's own bone marrow can improve the heart's ability to pump blood in patients with advanced heart failure, severe coronary heart disease, and no other remaining treatment options.

Dr. Perin and I began this work with the world's first clinical trial conducted between 2000 and 2002. The latest trial involved more than 90 patients treated at five heart centers across the country, including the Texas Heart Institute.

It is important to remember that almost 6 million people in America suffer from advanced heart failure, while in the entire United States, we are able to perform only about 2,000 heart transplants a year. This stem cell study is just one of several ways we are advancing the field so that people who are out of treatment options will have new hope.

You will be hearing much more about those advances in the near future. Thank you for your continued support and a special thank you to our generous Houston restaurants with the big hearts.

With great respect,

James T. Willerson signature


  James T. Willerson, MD
  President and Medical Director

Texas Heart Institute: Celebrating 50 Years of ExcellenceContact Dr. Willerson

Read previous issues of Heart to Heart in the archives.

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