Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), particularly Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), presents a fatal complication in chronic diseases, affecting 1 in 50,000 individuals, predominantly at a young age and more often in females. The underlying genetic link involves mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) gene, disrupting BMP signaling. The PHAEDRA-IMPACT consortium aims to understand PH and PAH.

The Research
The research focuses on understanding PAH through the transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signaling pathway, particularly influenced by mutations in the bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2) gene, prevalent in heritable and some non-hereditary PAH cases. The PHAEDRA initiative identified compounds that modulate the TGFβ/BMP balance, showing efficacy in restoring endothelial function and reversing pulmonary vascular remodeling in preclinical models, though not curing PAH, making early detection crucial.

PHAEDRA has identified biomarkers for timely diagnosis and personalized treatment. PHAEDRA-IMPACT will enhance early detection using non-invasive risk assessments, imaging, and biomarker profiling to detect pre-capillary PH. Precision medicine will guide tailored therapies based on advanced imaging and biomarker analyses, addressing disease progression variability among predisposed individuals.

Additionally, patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells will be used in 3D culture models of lung and heart tissues to uncover PAH mechanisms and identify therapeutic targets. This comprehensive approach aims to advance our understanding of PAH pathogenesis, accelerate drug development, and enable personalized treatment and preventive strategies for individuals at risk or affected by PH.

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Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) remains a significant public health challenge, accounting for nearly 20% of all deaths in developed nations and approximately half of all heart disease-related fatalities. A notable subset of SCA cases occurs in individuals without prior heart disease diagnosis, resulting in profound psychosocial impacts on affected families and society. Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is the primary arrhythmia leading to SCA, often occurring outside healthcare settings with survival rates ranging from 5% to 20%. Prevention is crucial, yet gaps in our understanding of SCA causes and mechanisms hinder effective prevention efforts. Various genetic and non-genetic factors, such as gender, age, comorbidities, and lifestyle, likely influence SCA risk, but their specific contributions remain unclear. The Focus The PREDICT2 initiative brings together leading Principal Investigators with expertise in epidemiology, clinical studies, genetics, and functional research to elucidate factors contributing to SCA, uncover underlying mechanisms, and develop strategies for prevention and treatment. The Research Building on foundational work from PREDICT1, which involved extensive patient characterization and preclinical model development, PREDICT2 focuses on inherited arrhythmia syndromes as models to understand the arrhythmogenic substrate in more common cardiac syndromes associated with SCA. Specifically, PREDICT2 aims to: Identify genetic and non-genetic factors that contribute to SCA risk and develop personalized risk prediction algorithms for individual patient assessment. Conduct functional studies to elucidate the mechanisms underlying SCA, enabling the development of novel risk stratification and therapeutic approaches. Implement clinical studies to evaluate risk prediction algorithms and therapeutic interventions, aiming to enhance the treatment and prevention of SCA.
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Cardiomyopathies, caused by genetic mutations affecting cardiac muscle components, pose significant economic and societal burdens due to their hereditary nature and early onset. Despite known genetic defects, predicting disease progression remains challenging due to extreme clinical variability. Recent research indicates that cardiomyopathy mutations induce metabolic stress, exacerbated by factors like obesity, which can accelerate disease progression. The Double Dose hypothesis suggests that targeting metabolic stress may offer preventive or curative strategies for these conditions. The Focus The Double Dose Consortium aims to understand how cardiomyopathy-causing mutations lead to structural changes in cardiomyocytes. This interdisciplinary effort combines experts in preclinical research, clinical genetics, health technology assessment, and clinical care focused on cardiomyopathy in both children and adults. The Research The consortium combines experts in preclinical research, clinical genetics, health technology assessment and clinical researchers with a strong clinical focus on cardiomyopathy in children and adults. These experts investigate how obesity and muscle adiposity contribute to vascular and cardiac muscle dysfunction in mutation carriers through the analysis of clinical data, patient samples, and experimental models. They will also study the mechanisms underlying ultrastructural changes in cardiomyocytes caused by these mutations, leading to impaired metabolism, contraction, relaxation defects, and disrupted cellular communication within the heart. Utilizing extensive patient cohorts and ongoing studies, the consortium aims to optimize care for cardiomyopathy patients by assessing the cost-effectiveness of diagnostics and clinical interventions. They plan to translate findings on metabolic alterations into clinical trials targeting treatments that reduce metabolic stress. The Double Dose program will establish biobanks containing serum, tissue, and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) to provide mechanistic insights into cardiomyopathy pathophysiology and improve diagnosis and care. DCVA iPSC-CM Journal Club iPSC-CMs are increasingly being used as alternatives for testing animals to investigate mechanisms of disease. Do you work with induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs)? Join the DCVA iPSC-CM Journal Club: a journal club that unites six institutes in the Netherlands working on iPSC-CMs. With the DCVA iPSC-CM Journal Club we establish a platform that combines forces to advance the use of stem cells for cardiovascular research in the Netherlands. The DCVA iPSC-CM Journal Club was founded in October 2020 by scientists from the Double Dose consortium. In this monthly journal club, we discuss the latest developments in the field, share protocols and exchange ideas on standardization in order to improve the quality of our own scientific studies. We host national and international experts from the field who discuss the main challenges of iPSC-CMs, but also remain accessible for young researchers to ask their questions. For more information or to apply, contact Birgit Goversen ( DOUBLE-DOSE mini-consortium The DOUBLE-DOSE consortium has allocated a portion of its talent budget for a mini-consortium grant to enhance and expand the scope of their research. This funding initiative aims to promote team science and offers independent scientists the opportunity to collaborate with DOUBLE-DOSE. Projects should be innovative and ideally focused on developing new techniques or generating pilot data to support future funding applications. In short: • Mini-consortium grant for early/mid-career scientists • Budget: € 75.000 per project • Deadline: March 1st, 2023 • Start: Ultimately January 1st, 2024 Please find the document with more information and an application form via the downloads below.
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