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Joy Lincoln, phd, director of cardiovascular research at the Herma Heart Institute at Children’s Wisconsin Nature Journal

Nature: Pediatric care gets personal with bespoke treatments for heart conditions

"Joy Lincoln, PhD, director of cardiovascular research at the Herma Heart Institute at Children’s Wisconsin, has seen how clinicians and scientists can come together to tackle life-altering heart diseases in kids. While the groups are typically siloed — physicians at the hospital, researchers in their labs — collaboration is front and center at Children’s Wisconsin. 'These groups talk now more than they ever have,' she says. The conversation is paying dividends for patients with congenital heart disease.

"These conditions are among the most common birth defects, affecting 1 percent of all live births in the United States each year. But diseases that were once fatal are now manageable, meaning children born with underdeveloped ventricles or significant structural defects are now surviving and thriving into middle age and beyond. Today, the Herma Heart Institute’s oldest patients are in their 80s, and its adult congenital heart disease program continues to expand.

"To achieve these successes, Children’s Wisconsin is leveraging precision medicine, tailoring treatments to each patient. 'Traditional medicine takes a one-size-fits-all approach, but for every child who comes through our door with congenital heart disease there is a different reason why,' says Lincoln, who is also a professor of pediatric cardiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Understanding a condition’s genetic underpinnings informs physicians’ long-term plans, and supporting patients’ broader wellbeing is key to holistic care. 'Our real mission is to support patients and their families throughout their journey from the fetus through adult life, looking at physical, emotional and mental health.'"

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