Prizes, Grants and Appointments | LUMC


LUMCs are regularly nominated for awards or receive grants for the research they do. This week we highlight a Horizon Europe – Health 2021 project in which LUMC is participating.

REGeRNA project – Recovery of heart cells

The “Cardiac regeneration by mRNA-triggered cardiomyocyte proliferation” project (REGeRNA) aims to address the loss of heart cells from heart failure – a condition that currently affects more than 60 million people worldwide.

Heart failure affects more than 64 million people worldwide and has become a global health priority due to the enormous clinical, social and economic burden it causes. “While medical advances have significantly improved the results of heart failure, current treatments are not always effective and do not address the main underlying cause: the massive loss of heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) in damaged areas,” says Christine Mummery, professor of developmental technology. Biology.

The REGeRNA project, coordinated by Philippe Menasché of the University of Paris Descartes, has been set up to solve this problem. Marie-José Goumans, professor of cardiovascular cell biology, explains: “Our ultimate goal is to enable the division of cardiomyocytes after a heart attack so that the adult heart can repair itself and replace lost cells.” Menasché and project partners Mummery and Goumans will use nanoparticle technology to produce synthetic cardiomyocyte mRNA (the same technology used in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine). “That way, we can reactivate processes that control the growth and development of cardiomyocytes, processes that usually stop shortly after birth,” Mummery concludes.

SafePolyMed – Make drug use safer

The project ‘Improve Safety in Polymedication by Managing Drug-Drug-Gene Interactions’ (SafePolyMed) aims to develop a new framework for doctors and tools to teach patients how to handle their medication correctly.

Undesirable side effects of drugs are a major burden on our healthcare and financial systems. In Europe alone, about 197,000 people die each year from side effects. Concomitant use of different drugs (polypharmacy), two or more long-term medical conditions or diseases (comorbidities) and genetic diversity are important factors that affect the effectiveness of drugs and can lead to more and more serious side effects.

“Interactions between different drugs and those between drugs and genes are strongly linked, so a global approach is needed to improve the safety of our citizens,” said Jesse Swen, associate professor at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology at the University of Applied Sciences LUMC. Pharmaceutical researcher Maaike van der Lee added: “Within the SafePolyMed project, we will use machine learning, real-world large data sets and mathematical modeling of drug interactions to develop new tools that help both doctors and patients discover new things. In this way, We teach polypharmacy patients to use their medicines correctly and safely while reducing our healthcare costs. ”

Of the total € 5.6 million HORIZON-HLTH-2021 grant, € 590,000 has been allocated to the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology at LUMC. Within the partnership, LUMC is conducting clinical research to confirm the expected benefits of the equipment and to recruit patients in Patras, Ljubljana, Aachen and Leiden. SafePolyMed builds on partnerships established in HORIZON2020 Ubiquitous Pharmacogenomics and the ERACoSysMed – Inspiration project.

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