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.
About Kenneth Bloch
Dr. Kenneth Bloch was born in New York City and grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. A graduate of Roxbury Latin School, Dr. Bloch obtained his Sc.B. and M.D. degrees from Brown University in 1978 and 1981, respectively. Dr. Bloch trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital beginning in June 1981. In 1984, Dr. Bloch undertook post-doctoral training with Dr. Jonathan G. Seidman in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. In 1987, he returned to the Massachusetts General Hospital to obtain subspecialty training in Cardiology where he pursued additional post-doctoral training with Dr. Thomas Quertermous. In 1990, Dr. Bloch joined the staff of the Cardiology Division at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Bloch’s laboratory moved to the Cardiovascular Research Center in 1992. He served as the Interim Director of the CVRC from 2002 through 2004. In July 2005, Dr. Bloch was named the William T. G. Morton Associate Professor of Anesthesiology. In the Spring 2007, Dr. Bloch’s group will move to Thier 5 in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, but will remain an integral component of the CVRC Research Program. In March 2007, Dr. Bloch was named the first William T. G. Morton Professor of Anesthesiology. In the Spring 2007, Dr. Bloch’s group moved to Thier 5 in the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care and remains an integral component of the CVRC Research Program.