The National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has awarded $9.56 million over five years to a University of Louisville (UofL) Health Sciences Center research scientist to form a multicenter network examining cardioprotective therapies at the preclinical level.
Roberto Bolli, MD, director of the Institute of Molecular Cardiology and chief of cardiovascular medicine at UofL, is principal investigator of the effort that will involve laboratories at UofL, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Emory University in Atlanta and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Specifically, the researchers will perform blinded, randomized animal studies to examine how to lessen the damage done to heart muscle in a heart attack.
For almost 40 years, the NIH/NHLBI has invested considerable resources in preclinical studies aimed at developing infarct-sparing therapies. Throughout this time, hundreds of therapies have been developed that have been claimed to limit infarct size in preclinical models. However, Bolli said, none have advanced to the clinical stage.
“This enormous investment—at least several hundred million dollars—over the past 40 years has not produced any notable clinical application. Results have generally not been replicated in from one lab to another, and no cardioprotective therapy is currently available for clinical use,” Bolli said.
The goal of the project is to identify therapies that are proven to work through rigorous study in preclinical models and ultimately advance them to clinical trial stage.
“CAESAR will be a major paradigm shift in cardioprotection. By screening promising therapies and identifying those that are truly effective in relevant experimental models—and thus, are most likely to be ultimately effective in patients—CAESAR will focus on those therapies and will dramatically advance our ability to rationally translate basic findings into clinical trials,” Bolli said.