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A neuroprosthesis to restore the vagal-cardiac closed-loop connection after heart transplantation

Objective

With 3500 annual surgeries worldwide, heart transplantation is the last resort for an increasing number of patients affected by end-stage heart failure (HF). Heart transplant (HTx) can significantly increase life expectancy of HF patients but unfortunately exercise capacity and health-related quality of life of HTx recipients are still limited, due to the increased frequency of late complications mainly owing to chronotropic incompetence because of cardiac denervation. Orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT) is the most common approach of HTx, involving the complete explantation of the native heart, making surgical denervation inevitable. Therefore, the modulation of rate- and load-contractility relationship of the donor heart is significantly altered after transplantation even if using different surgical techniques.
Addressing this fundamental clinical problem is the main goal of NeuHeart, that will be furthered by specifically investigating the physiology of denervated heart which will facilitate the development of a bioelectronic solution based on the closed-loop neuromodulation of the vagus nerve (VN), using a regenerative neural interface (for VN stimulation) and implanted artificial sensors (to record sensory information and close the loop). This cardiac smart neuroprosthesis will be tested in a swine model of OHT to demonstrate the feasibility of artificially re-establising vagal control in a denervated heart, by re-enabling the cardiac-vagal connection: the overall research output of the project will deliver multiple impacts, remarkably contributing to heart transplant science (fundamental research), help in the constitution of a new treatment paradigm for heart failure (clinics and society), and reach into the emerging industry of bioelectronic medicine (technology market), guaranteeing Europe a position of ‘first mover’ into this field.

Call for proposal

H2020-FETPROACT-2018-01
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

RIA - Research and Innovation action

Coordinator

SCUOLA SUPERIORE DI STUDI UNIVERSITARI E DI PERFEZIONAMENTO S ANNA
Address
Piazza Martiri Della Liberta 33
56127 Pisa
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 528 250

Participants (5)

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 036 287,50
Address
Gower Street
WC1E 6BT London
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
MEDIZINISCHE UNIVERSITAET WIEN
Austria
EU contribution
€ 695 977,50
Address
Spitalgasse 23
1090 Wien
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FORSCHUNGSSTIFTUNG FUR INFORMATIONSTECHNOLOGIE UND GESELLSCHAFT
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 724 705
Address
Zeughausstrasse 43
8004 Zurich
Activity type
Research Organisations
FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.
Germany
EU contribution
€ 600 745
Address
Hansastrasse 27C
80686 Munchen
Activity type
Research Organisations
SENSARS NEUROPROSTHETICS SARL
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 397 500
Address
Rue Du Maupas 38
1004 Lausanne
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)