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Replenishing a vital molecule to rescue stiff heart failure

Heart Research Institute & University of Sydney

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 18 November, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. John O'Sullivan

Project Summary

Stiff heart failure is now the most common form of heart failure. But it has no therapies. We have discovered a molecule that is depleted in the hearts of these patients. Our early work suggests that replenishing this molecule rescues this type of heart failure. Now, we would like to formally test this strategy and develop the first treatment for this disease.

What is the issue for NSW?

As in all other geographical locations in the developed world stiff heart failure is now the most common form of heart failure. As in other locations, one in ten people aged 40 or over in NSW will develop stiff heart failure, and data suggests its prevalence is increasingly rapidly. Amongst the 350,000 patients in NSW with heart failure, 180,000 have stiff heart failure. Heart failure treatment costs NSW $1 billion per year. With the rapidly increasing prevalence of stiff heart failure, treatments are urgently needed to decrease suffering, reduce mortality, and decrease economic burden. Our novel treatment for Heart Failure with preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) has the potential to dramatically reduce suffering, healthcare costs, and provide economic benefit to NSW. This project will also substantially improve understanding of mechanism, serving to uncover further novel management and therapeutic strategies.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This research aims to take advantage of a unique biopsy program this team has established, whereby tissue samples are taken from the left ventricle of the heart. This will allow us to examine our molecule of interest in the part of the heart that is critical for this type of heart failure. This study will test if oral administration can replenish this critical molecule in the heart. In parallel, this research will determine the effects of heart function in patients in our stiff heart failure clinic.