The initiation and perpetuation of atrial fibrillation (AF) can be regarded as a complication of a progressive transformation of the structure and functional properties of the atria. This transformation is the result of complex and multiple changes at the molecular, cellular and organ levels which interact to form the basis for proarrhythmic mechanisms in AF. Numerous individual and environmental factors are probably involved in this profound transformation process in the atria. Therefore, we believe that progress in the diagnostics, prevention and treatment of AF requires highly integrative research from the molecule to bedside and from specific signaling pathways and electrophysiological mechanisms to population based studies.
A consortium was formed providing this variety of expertises and has identified central research objectives for improvements in AF prevention and therapy.
In 5 work packages focusing on basic research, new biomarkers for AF and therapeutic targets will be identified. We will study mechanisms of conduction disturbances in the atria, explore new ion channel targets for treatment of AF, identify specific alterations in the atria depending on the underlying heart disease, and evaluate beneficial effects of organ-protective compounds. Within two clinically oriented work packages the clinical application of these findings will be tested. The predictive value of diagnostic tools like serum biomarkers, 3D reconstruction of atrial conduction patterns based on high resolution body surface ECGs, and echocardiographic markers will be studied in large scale population studies. The new therapeutic targets will be explored in smaller prove-of-principle clinical trials (substrate oriented ablation, new pharmacological targets, and local gene delivery).
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-IP - Large-scale integrating project