Neal Weintraub, M.D.
Neal Weintraub has discovered an ingenious way to trick the body into protecting heart tissue during a heart attack. His discovery is now being tested through a company he co-founded in 2009, and it may someday be a lifesaver for humans.
During a heart attack, cardiac cells are damaged not only when blood flow is cut off from the heart, but also when a blocked artery reopens and oxygen-rich blood flows in. The result, known as reperfusion injury, causes heart failure in one in four patients.
Amazingly, stopping the damage may be as easy as rubbing a topical cream on a patient’s skin. The cream Weintraub uses contains capsaicin – a chemical compound found in hot peppers – and its presence on the skin sends the nervous system into a survival mode that protects heart cells. In mouse models, when capsaicin cream was applied to the skin, cardiac cell death dropped by an astonishing 85 percent.
That finding is the science behind CardioCeption. Currently conducting large-animal studies, the start-up aims to commercialize medical technology that uses topical creams and electrical patches on the skin to prevent cardiac damage during a heart attack.
An active researcher and clinician, Weintraub has been an active NIH grant recipient since 1997 and has been named one of America’s top doctors for six consecutive years, based on the annual survey conducted by Best Doctors in America, Inc. He even worked as a paramedic while in medical school.
- Vascular biology and physiology
- Ischemia/reperfusion injury
- Aortic disease
- Heart failure
- Obesity-related disease
With his dedication to translational medicine, Weintraub was eager to take on a role forging partnerships among cardiology faculty and cardiovascular surgeons, to move discoveries from research labs into clinical trials and ultimately into everyday patient care. Also, as a native Georgian whose family helped found the city of Albany, he has always dreamed of returning to his home state and working at the alma mater of physicians he has known since childhood.