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NIH Awards Beth Israel Team $3M to Continue Study of Heart Disease Biomarkers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The National Institutes of Health has awarded a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) research team $3 million in funding to support the second phase of an effort to identify microRNAs that can be used to predict clinical outcomes of heart disease patients.

The grant, which was awarded under the NIH's Extracellular RNA Communication program, follows a $4 million award the group received to kick off the project in 2013.

To date, the team has identified a number of miRNA biomarker candidates including miR-30d, which the researchers reported earlier this year as a predictor of beneficial cardiac remodeling in patients following a heart attack and a key player in preventing cell death.

With the latest grant, the investigators aim to validate miR-30d and other candidate miRNAs in several large patient cohorts.

"Over the past two years, we have been using RNA sequencing technology to identify characteristics in extracellular RNAs in plasma that might enable us to better predict patient outcomes following a heart attack," Saumya Das, a BIDMC researcher and principal investigator of the grant, said in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is to use microRNA-based tests to predict which patients might be at risk of complications related to remodeling. That way we can more aggressively monitor their conditions and intervene with medications or implantable devices if needed."

Collaborating with Das and his BIDMC colleagues are collaborators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.