The Cardiovascular Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital

Kenneth Bloch, MD

Kenneth Bloch, MD

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Lab Overview

Dr. Kenneth Bloch's research program is directed at understanding two important cardiovascular diseasesócongestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension.

Congestive heart failure is a condition in which the heart fails to pump enough blood to maintain organ function. Dr. Bloch and his colleagues are studying how enzymes that produce nitric oxide (NO, a gas that the body makes) can protect injured hearts (such as by a heart attack) from failing. To date they have found that one NO-producing enzyme, NOS3, can prevent heart failure in mice. In exciting recent studies, Dr. Bloch and his colleagues have shown that breathing nitric oxide gas can decrease the amount of heart damage in animal models mimicking patients presenting to the hospital with a heart attack.

Pulmonary hypertension is a disease in which blood pressure in the lungs is too high. In some patients, pulmonary hypertension is attributable to an underlying illness or condition (secondary pulmonary hypertension). In other patients, pulmonary hypertension occurs in the absence of an inciting factor (primary pulmonary hypertension). Primary pulmonary hypertension tends to afflict young adults, women more than men, and can lead to shortness of breath, swollen feet (pedal edema), and even death. Some patients with primary pulmonary hypertension have a mutation in a gene called BMPR2. However, not all patients carrying a mutant gene develop the disease. Dr. Bloch and his colleagues are studying mice engineered to have a mutation in the BMPR2 gene with the goal of understanding why some patients with a BMPR2 mutation develop primary pulmonary hypertension and others do not, with the ultimate goal of developing new and effective treatments.

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Massachusetts General Hospital the cardiovascular research center