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NHLBI Awards $14.4M for Five-year Study of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has awarded a consortium of institutions $14.4 million to research better methods of predicting which hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients are at the highest risk of heart failure or sudden death.

The University of Virginia School of Medicine and the University of Oxford in the UK, will direct the five-year study which will follow 2,750 patients for up to five years. The study will be conducted at 35 to 40 sites in the US, Canada, and Europe, including the UK, Italy and Germany.

Christopher Kramer of the University of Virginia and Stefan Neubauer of Oxford are the co-principal investigators. Kramer will oversee the North American locations, while Neubauer will oversee the European sites. The University of Virginia is the lead site for the study.

Along with NHLBI, Siemens Healthcare is providing support to the project.

The focus of the study is three-fold, the University of Virginia said: MRI imaging of the heart to enable doctors to "better map and measure the amount of heart thickening, scarring, and fibrosis"; detecting genetic patterns that may be associated with increased risk; and discovering biomarkers to may be used to predict risk.

In the grant abstract, the researchers said they plan to develop a predictive model of cardiovascular outcomes in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, by using exploratory data mining methods to identify demographic, clinical, and novel cardiovascular magnetic resonance, genetic, and biomarker variables that are associated with outcomes. Also, they plan to develop a score from the model for use in assessing a patient's risk, "given a patient's combination of risk factors, thus establishing the evidence base to enable clinical trial design to reduce morbidity and mortality in HCM in a cost-effective manner."

"The predictors of who is going to die and who is going to develop heart failure are fairly weak at present," Kramer said in a statement. "The goal of the study is to develop better risk predictors, with the long-term goal of enabling more focused therapies."