NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio today said it has received $11.6 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to conduct a proteomics study to identify protein biomarkers associated with cardiac failure.
The study — which specifically will be directed at identifying peptides that may be predictive of individuals who have had a heart attack and who may suffer heart failure later on — is aimed at peptides from the extracellular matrix, whose turnover regulates heart response to injury.
In the project, plasma samples will be taken from mice within one week after an induced heart attack.
According to Merry Lindsey, associate professor of medicine and principal investigator of the NHLBI Proteomics Center at UT Health Science Center, the focus on extracellular matrix distinguishes its work from others, where extracellular matrix research has concentrated on identifying cancer biomarkers.
Lindsey and her colleagues will catalog which extracellular matrix proteins are broken down into peptide fragments after a heart attack, and then research each fragment for biological activity. To do so, the proteomics center is developing new mass spectrometry-based detection methods, led by Susan Weintraub, professor of biochemistry and center co-investigator, the university said in a statement.
Each year, more than 1.2 million Americans suffer heart attacks, the university said. In about 400,000 of these cases, the resulting damage leads to heart failure. About 200,000 of these cases lead to death within five years.
The project, which is being funded for five years by NHLBI, will seek to identify those patients who will need more intense care and treatment after a heart attack, Lindsey said.
The UT Health Science Center is one of 10 proteomics center established by NHLBI in 2002 and includes faculty members from the center as well as the School of Engineering at UTSA.