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New-generation cardiac therapeutic strategies directed to the activation of endogenous regenerative mechanisms

Project description

Heart-to-heart evaluation could lead to tissue regeneration therapies

A heart attack, technically a myocardial infarction, is generally an ischaemic event in which vital oxygen and nutrients are denied to heart muscle (myocardium), because of either a vessel blockage or rupture. This typically results in tissue death and subsequent scarring, diminishing the heart's capacity to pump blood efficiently. Over time, this can potentially lead to heart failure. The human heart does not regenerate cells and tissue; likewise, introduction of stem cells has not been associated with regeneration. However, some fish and amphibian species can regenerate their hearts. The EU-funded REANIMA project is studying the presence and absence of such regeneration across diverse species, seeking pathways toward regeneration and mechanisms stimulating endogenous regeneration in humans. A well-established translational pipeline could bring discoveries to the clinic speedily.


Heart failure is a major epidemic world-wide, resulting in a large burden for society in deaths, morbidity and economic sustainability. The inability of the human heart to regenerate the myocardium lost due to acute myocardial infarction underlies a large part of chronic heart failure cases. To tackle this problem, REANIMA aims to deliver new therapies for heart regeneration, thereby reverting the conditions that lead to heart failure. Thus far, clinical trials based on introducing stem cells into the heart have not shown regenerative ability. In contrast, studies of spontaneous and induced heart regeneration in animal models strongly suggest a change in paradigm towards the reactivation of endogenous regenerative mechanisms. To develop this new path, REANIMA presents the first European basic-translational integrated effort in the cardiac regenerative field, with activities that span from the discovery of new targets in animal models to clinical trial design. REANIMA brings together knowledge on species that can regenerate their hearts –fish and amphibians–, animals that cannot regenerate their hearts –adult mammals– and human engineered heart tissues. Strong synergy between partners will allow REANIMA to identify new pathways in regenerative animals and design strategies for their reactivation in non-regenerative animals and human tissue. REANIMA incorporates industrial and academic partners specialised in translational and pre-clinical research, who will develop advanced therapeutic medicinal products and new translational platforms. REANIMA will thus establish a translational pipeline using cross-species gene/protein therapy products with high translational potential, thereby boosting the rapid transition from basic research to the design of clinical trials. We expect that REANIMA will change current paradigms underlying clinical efforts in regenerative cardiology by transforming basic knowledge on endogenous pathways into effective new therapies.

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Net EU contribution
€ 1 380 000,00
28029 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 1 380 000,00

Participants (11)