The Relaxin Receptor 1 for Treatment of Heart Failure

Project start
Institution: Medizinische Klinik (Krehl-Klinik), Zentrum für Innere Medizin, Klinik für Kardiologie, Angiologie und Pneumologie, Innere Medizin III, Heidelberg
Applicant: Prof. Dr. med. Philip Raake
EKFS funding line: Translational Research

Chronic heart failure is a progressive condition characterized by a decreased cardiac function. As a result, the heart is incapable of maintaining sufficient body perfusion and thus oxygen supply. Besides poor quality of life, heart failure is associated with increased mortality. Treatment options are limited, which underlines the urgent need for novel and better therapies. The objective of this project is the pre-clinical development and clinical translation of a novel and innovative long-term treatment of chronic heart failure. The therapy consists of two elements: (1) viral vector-mediated overexpression of a surface receptor (relaxin family peptide receptor 1, RXFP1) in the heart muscle and (2) supplementation of relaxin, a naturally occurring hormone. Relaxin specifically activates the overexpressed receptors, which is known to mediate several beneficial effects in the heart. Our approach was able to attenuate heart failure progression and to increase cardiac output both in cell culture and small-animal models of heart failure.
This project aims at evaluating the therapeutic approach in a large animal model. Due to similarities in size and in the cardiovascular system, farm pigs represent a suitable model to investigate the chances of translation into the clinic. We thereby seek to obtain comprehensive information regarding safety and efficacy of this innovative approach for heart failure treatment.

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