Research Area Leaders
T. Braun, S. Dimmeler, S. Fichtlscherer, I. Fleming, H.A. Ghofrani, F. Grimminger, A. Günther, C.W. Hamm, W. Kummer, E. Mayer, M. Potente, K.T. Preissner, R.T. Schermuly, W. Seeger, M.R. Wilkins, A.M. Zeiher
Achievements of ECCPS members in this field include the characterisation of circulating biomarkers of coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy such as; high sensitivity troponin, BNP and its metabolites, sCD40L and PlGF. The search for biomarkers of tissue ischemia that precede biomarkers of necrosis, identified soluble Flt-1 as being produced by the hypoxia induced activation of Jmjd6-controlled alternative splicing. Flt-1 is therefore a potential prognostic marker of acute coronary syndrome as well as pulmonary hypertension. Furthermore, we have identified vascular endothelial-, smooth muscle cell-, and cardiomyocyte-specific microRNA (miR). The stability of miR in the blood and their reproducible detection has recently been demonstrated by this area and the validation of miR as putative biomarkers of vascular disease, ischemia and heart failure is a major goal for the next funding period. We will also focus on identifying the mechanisms of miR release and their stabilisation in plasma by specific binding proteins. Several large biobanks comprising various cardiovascular and pulmonary vascular diseases have been established as a core for novel biomarker evaluation. To identify very early markers of tissue hypoxia and ischemia, the transcoronary ablation of septum hypertrophy procedure will be used as a human model system of controlled myocardial infarction. Likewise, the surgical desobliteration of chronic thromboembolic occluded pulmonary arteries by endarterectomy will be used to identify mechanisms and biomarkers of right heart load, failure and recovery (reverse remodelling). Finally, this area aims at the in vivo validation of molecular signature analysis by molecular imaging in the designated ECCPS imaging centre.