In 1959, Lester R. Sauvage MD founded the Reconstructive Cardiovascular Research Laboratory as a branch of Providence Seattle Medical Center (renamed Bob Hope International Heart Research Institute in 1968 and later The Hope Heart Institute).
Dr. Mark Dedomenico joined Dr. Sauvage in 1965. In 1968, Dr. Dedomenico gave the paper at the American Thoracic Conference in Pittsburgh, that would teach the world how to successfully do a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) operation using the patient’s own vein as a bypass graft. That certainly would have qualified for the Nobel Prize, but that year, it was awarded for the first heart transplant that was done in South Africa.
In 1969, using only the patent’s internal thoracic (chest wall) arteries, Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico were able to bypass blockages in all the main coronary arteries. This was another first - using artery to artery. The invention of coronary Artery Bypass Surgery opened the era of introducing dilating balloons and stents to correct coronary disease.
PROGRESS IN THE 1970'S
In the late ‘60’s, artificial heart valves were being created by other thoracic surgeons to replace damaged heart valves. Unfortunately, they didn’t work very well, often resulting to the death of the patient. With the help of three brilliant engineers from Seattle University and Boeing, a new type of engineering was created. It was called Pulsative Flow engineering. This was the engineering description of how blood pulsated through the heart valve and arteries. Within months after Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico presented the Coronary Bypass Paper, they created a heart valve (guided flow aortic valve) using this new engineering technology. This valve would be used to replace damaged heart valves. This valve was used around the world for over 10 years.
Dr. Sauvage had been working with Dr. Wesolowski, from Philadelphia, who had created knitted Dacron tubes of all sizes, which they had hoped would replace damaged arteries. Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico implanted these Dacron tubes in hundreds of calves and miniature pigs to prove they worked. These artificial arterial grafts would become known as the Sauvage Grafts, and they are still in use today.
It was around this time that the Bob Hope Heart Institute was founded in Seattle. This institute would become known as the Hope Heart Institute. From that institute, with Dr. Sauvage’s foresight and supervision, 141 Papers were written describing cardiovascular surgical techniques, procedures and products. Many are still in use today. These techniques, procedures and products probably have directly or indirectly affected 500 million people around the world over the last 55 years.
One of Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico’s main interests had always been to find a way to stop the causes of cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis), which they believed was created by what is called the “Metabolic Syndrome.” Metabolic Syndrome occurs in people who are overweight/obese, have improper diets, lack exercise and have destructive lifestyles like smoking, stress, overeating, and so forth.
PROGRESS IN THE 1980'S
In the late 1980’s, while Dr. Sauvage continued his research at The Hope Heart Institute in Seattle, Dr. Dedomenico, with Dr. Sauvage’s support, began to devote all his time to studying metabolic disorders, which were the cause of cardiovascular disease. These included overweight/obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and Type 2 Diabetes. Dr. Sauvage often stated that being modestly overweight slightly increased a person’s chance of dying, especially from cardiovascular disease. He said that being obese was associated with death rates increasing 50% to 100% over people who were normal weighted.
When Dr. Dedomenico decided it would take an athletic facility to treat overweight patients who had Metabolic Syndrome with weight loss, exercise and lifestyle adjustments, Dr. Dedomenico bought a small athletic club in Bellevue called the PRO Club. That club would grow from 30,000 square feet in the 1980’s to 400,000 square feet today. To make the research project the best it could be, Dr. Dedomenico started a nationwide search to bring together a team of the best researchers, scientists, physicians, registered dietitians, exercise physiologist, licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, performance-testing personnel, and support staff. Eventually, there were 250 people working towards finding answers to metabolic disorders and their resulting cardiovascular diseases.
Dr. Dedomenico funded this project personally from the late 80’s until 2002, when Microsoft said they wanted to pay to have this program available to their employees and dependents, who were overweight and obese. The program then became available to the general population and was called 20/20 LifeStyles. Other corporations followed Microsoft’s lead and began to offer the program to their employees and their dependents. Income from the program began to cover the research costs (which still continues today), and at present, Microsoft and other corporations continue to offer this benefit to their employees/dependents. The 20/20 LifeStyles program has now treated 12,000 patients with excellent results.
Without using drugs, the average weight loss at 20/20 LifeStyles has been 43 pounds, ranging from 20 pounds to 180 pounds. With weight loss and proper personalized nutrition, personalized exercise, and personalized lifestyle adjustment, 20/20 LifeStyles normalized or cured metabolic disorders without medication: High Cholesterol 61% of time - High blood pressure 79% of time - Pre-Type 2 Diabetes 100% of the time – and Type 2 Diabetes 73% of the time. This reduced the patient’s chance of having cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke) to almost zero.
To accomplish this success, the 20/20 LifeStyles team has created 72 twenty minute educational videos, an App for meal tracking, plus an App you wear like a watch that measures sleep and sleep quality, steps per day, exercise and level of exercise and your blood sugar response to different foods. For the past several years, 20/20 LifeStyles has been researching how they could use people’s genetics - and they recently announced that using genetics they were now able to get a basic understanding of what an individual’s diet, exercise program and lifestyle changes should be to lose weight and keep it off.
Other tests 20/20 LifeStyles added over the years include blood chemistries, bio markers, hormone levels, circadian rhythm, sleep cycle, basal metabolic rate, VO2 Max, and measuring a person’s body muscle and fat. With all this information, 20/20 LifeStyles can refine genetic information for personalizing a person’s nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. This helps the patient lose weight permanently, while eliminating all disorders that obesity causes, like cardiovascular disease, many cancers, osteoarthritis, and other debilitating disorders.
Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico gave their full support to this project, which continues today with further research into genetics and microbes (which are different in every human being and Dr. Dedomenico believes are closely related to all metabolic disorders).
PROGRESS IN THE 1990'S
While researching the causes of metabolic disorders, Dr. Dedomenico became aware of body aging as a cause of cardiovascular disease. A noted cardiovascular surgeon in New York, Dr. Gundry, believed that as we entered our late 30’s or early 40’s, a gene called the “aging gene” is turned on – and we begin to lose muscle, which is replaced by fat deposited on the abdomen. Dr. Dedomenico knew that fat, especially abdominal fat, causes metabolic disorders that lead to cardiovascular disease. Dr. Dedomenico also realized that turning on the aging gene was related to a decline of many of our hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, thyroid and several others. After consulting with Dr. Sauvage, Dr. Dedomenico decided to research whether they could turn off the aging genes or at least slow the aging process down. Dr. Dedomenico again went for the best, and recruited one of the nation’s top age management specialists - Dr. Joseph Upton - a Board-Certified Age Management physician.
It didn’t take long to see how age management played an important part in managing metabolic diseases in both men and women. Dr. Dedomenico found that women with their aging gene turned on, were losing twice as much muscle as men and replacing it with visceral fat - the fat that causes metabolic disease. Through anti-aging treatments, muscle loss being replaced by fat was halted, and these women and men were no longer prone to cardiovascular disease. Then, an interesting thing happened – the patients receiving anti-aging treatment said they felt so good they wanted to look as young as they felt. In response, Dr. Dedomenico found the best cosmetic dermatologist in the country and surrounded him with a staff that was the best in lasers, cool sculpting, Botox, fillers, etc. After all, Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico’s mission statement was to improve the physical, emotional and spiritual quality of life.
Dr. Dedomenico named the new department The Medical Spa. Since its inception, The Medical Spa has become the largest on the West Coast with many special programs for women and men to maintain muscle and avoid Metabolic Syndrome disorders associated with aging.
During the ‘90’s, Dr. Sauvage organized a successful national and international network of 62 prominent cardiovascular surgeons and institutions, which became committed to sending explanted human grafts to The Hope for study. The grafts showed islands of arterial endothelial cells (lining cells). Neither Dr. Sauvage nor Dr. Dedomenico could account for this growth. Later, both doctors realized this phenomenon occurred because stem cells in the blood stream were depositing themselves onto the grafts and forming arterial lining cells.
In 1996, Dr. Sauvage published The Open Heart: Secret to Happiness (stories of hope and healing) with a foreword written by Mother Teresa and former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop. Dr. Sauvage founded Better Life Press in 1998 and published his second book, You Can Beat Heart Disease: Prevention and Treatment (how to live a longer, healthier life).
As Dr. Dedomenico’s innovative techniques for weight loss, proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle adjustments succeeded, the 20/20 LifeStyles project attracted additional leading researchers, scientists, physicians, registered dietitians, psychiatrists and psychologist. Soon, recognizing that PRO had the leading experts treating patients, even people without metabolic disease wanted the PRO professionals to care for them. As a result, Dr. Dedomenico developed the Medical Center at PRO, open to everyone with every department being headed by a leader in their field.
EXPANSION INTO THE NEW CENTURY
Today, Dr. Dedomenico has introduced reviewing people’s genetic blueprint in every department in the medical complex, so that their care can be personalized not only for today, but for 30, 40 or 50 years from now. Genetics are a part of 20/20 LifeStyles, My Best 10, cosmetic dermatology, Anti-Aging, nutritional dietitians, personal training, psychology, psychiatry, aesthetician (facials), salon (hair and nails), physical therapy, podiatry, orthopedics and plastic surgery.
Presently, two pilot studies funded by Dr. Dedomenico are underway. 20/20 LifeStyles is presently researching new and innovative ways to stop excessive weight gain during pregnancy as well as weight gain after an injury. These are two of the main causes of relapse and weight gain. Preliminary findings show that interfacing with dietitians, exercise physiologists and a psychologist can help pregnant women return to normal weight within 2-6 weeks after delivery. People who are unable to work and whose injuries require physical therapy for recovery are interfaced with these same professionals. Early findings in that program show good results in weight loss for overweight patients, and that all patients gain muscle, positive attitude, confidence and return to work sooner than non-treated individuals. Final results on both pilot studies are due in late 2018.
In 2001, Dr. Sauvage and Dr. Dedomenico had pre-eminent vascular biology researcher Tom Wright, PhD join The Hope, where he began a 5-year research project to “grow” a living heart – though unfortunately, Dr. Wright’s research was unable to produce a replacement heart.
In 2003, Dr. Dedomenico first noticed how the metabolic disorder of inflammation known as osteoarthritis was becoming an epidemic. And today, it’s gotten worse. Currently, in the United States, 700,000 joint replacements occur every year. By 2025, the Government says two million joint replacements will be needed unless we find a way to intervene.
Dr. Dedomenico knew that by understanding genetics, doctors could create personalized exercise programs, so the small group of people with genetic markers showing they were prone to osteoarthritis wouldn’t do the wrong exercises or sports. By avoiding these harmful activities, people could avoid damage to the joints, which later in life would result in osteoarthritis. This alone could slow the need for joint replacement.
While Dr. Dedomenico had always hoped that stem cells could be used in heart disease to grow heart muscle, he also knew that stem cell research was another means to combat osteoarthritis.
In seeking answers, Dr. Dedomenico decided further research was needed. He joined Dr. Wayne McIlwraith of Colorado State University in 2005 to investigate ways to control the osteoarthritis epidemic. Dr. Dedomenico and Dr. McIlwraith began studying the ability of
stem cells to stop osteoarthritis when it first starts, accelerate healing after any surgery, re-growing tendons and someday growing hearts or heart muscle. Their work was done mostly in horses, especially thoroughbreds. Dr. Dedomenico still does this work in Redmond at Pegasus Thoroughbred Training and Rehabilitation Center, which he had built 12 years ago. The facility treats injured horses with stem cells and incorporates operating rooms, hyperbaric chamber, swimming pool, underwater treadmill, multiple diagnostic equipment, and a 5/8-mile poly track with a special non-slip surface. It has a staff of 15 for rehabilitation, training and care of the horses. No horses are sacrificed. In fact, all horses return to the race track to continue racing. Dr. Dedomenico and Dr. McIlwraith have concluded that stem cells can stop osteoarthritis if given at the first signs of the disorder, can grow new tendons (which they have been doing for 8 years), and will accelerate the healing process when handled and given correctly.
While others have tried stem cell therapy to repair damaged hearts without much success, Dr. Dedomenico says the time is coming to take what we have learned in animals to humans in the orthopedic area and eventually in the cardiovascular area to grow heart muscle.
A MEDICAL FACILITY LIKE NO OTHER
In November 2018, Dr. Dedomenico will open a new 50,000 square foot medical facility located at PRO Club in Bellevue, which will have three operating rooms for orthopedic and plastic surgery. It will be staffed with the best orthopedic and plastic surgeons in the country. These operating rooms will also contain robots to assist in surgery. And, the building will have expanded space for Anti-Aging or Age Management as well as cosmetic dermatology.
Dr. Dedomenico says the building is dedicated to stopping the osteoarthritis epidemic, slowing the aging process, to further the study of human genetics, and advance cosmetic dermatology to keep all women looking younger with more confidence. In the future, all areas in the Medical Center building will use stem cells to accelerate and assist healing and slow the aging process. Dr. Dedomenico realizes that the study of genetics is still in its infancy – he knows there will be further dramatic advances ahead. The study of the body’s Microbiome population, which he believes to be uniquely involved in many diseases and disorders including heart disease, is just starting. He plans to be on the cutting edge of this microbiome research.
“We live in an age when advances in medicine may literally not know any limits,” Dr. Dedomenico says. “We look forward to what tomorrow may bring, and we want all people who work hard to have a full and wonderful quality of life.”
Notably, The Hope Heart Institute will have its offices in Dr. Dedomenico’s Medical Center at PRO Club. And, with the goal of delivering quality of life and health in the future, The Hope will continue to be involved in finding answers to maintaining cardiac health.