June 24, 2019
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to create a new therapy for a disease that causes abnormal heart rhythms has received a $6 million grant from the Leducq Foundation.
The 2019 Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Program grant was awarded to Peter Mohler, vice dean of research at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and director of the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute, and his international collaborators.
The research project – Fighting Against Sinus Node Dysfunction and Associated Arrhythmias – will look at identifying and changing a protein in the heart to prevent the development of sinus node dysfunction symptoms. Sinus node dysfunction occurs when the heart’s natural pacemaker doesn’t function properly, resulting in slow and erratic heart rhythms. Over time, people who have the disease need a pacemaker to regulate their heart rhythm. While the condition is uncommon, the risk of developing sinus node dysfunction increases with age.
“Sinus node dysfunction can slow heart rates and cause fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting and even death,” Mohler said. “We have developed an international team of physicians and researchers to investigate the mechanisms that cause sinus node dysfunction and provide a framework for the development of a new therapy to reverse the disease process and reduce the need for electronic pacemakers.”
The Leducq Foundation’s mission is to improve human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease and stroke. Based in France, the foundation’s principal grant program, the Transatlantic Networks of Excellence for Cardiovascular and Neurovascular Research, promotes internationally collaborative basic and translational research. Scientists supported in this program work together to further knowledge of cardiovascular and neurovascular disease, with an aim toward improving outcomes for patients.
“Mohler has discovered more than a dozen genetic variants associated with arrhythmias and his and Ohio State’s expertise is sought out by investigators around the world,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of Ohio State’s College of Medicine. “Receiving this highly competitive award that promotes collaboration across borders will drive innovation and speed the discovery of new treatments to save lives.”
Ohio State is the North American lead coordinating site for the award. Other sites include Universite de Montpellier, France; University of Manchester, United Kingdom; University of Pennsylvania Health System; Columbia University Medical Center; Stony Brook University School of Medicine; University Hospital Munster, Germany; and University of Milano, Italy.
Media Contact: Serena Smith, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, Serena.Smith@osumc.edu