The PHAEDRA consortium, consisting of leading cardiovascular research groups from the Netherlands, receives a grant of 3 million euros from the Dutch Heart Foundation. The researchers will use this money for research into pulmonary hypertension (PH). Patients with PH have abnormally high blood pressure in the lungs. This causes damage to the lungs and to the heart. The heart therefore has to work harder to pump enough blood around. This eventually leads to heart failure. Researcher Frances de Man, Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc: "Patients with PH often die at a young age. At the moment there are therapies that can slow the disease process, but the only possibility of cure is a lung transplant. That is why it is so important that research is done on PH."
The research will focus on an earlier recognition of the disease and a better understanding of the origin of the disease. Researcher Harm Jan Bogaard of Amsterdam UMC: "Previous research has shown that the outcomes for patients strongly improve after an early diagnosis and treatment of PH. Now we want to learn how to recognize and treat PH early. The knowledge we gain from this research can be introduced on a national scale, so that all healthcare providers and patients in the Netherlands can benefit from it."
In addition, the researchers are developing an 'organ on a chip' (OOC) of the lungs and the heart. For this they use cells from the blood of patients. They adapt these cells so that the cells can develop into different cells of the heart and lungs. De Man: "With these OOCs we can see in the lab how lungs and heart react to a possible therapy." For a further explanation of OOCs, see this video.
The PHAEDRA consortium consists of researchers from Amsterdam UMC, Leiden University Medical Center, Maastricht University and University of Twente.
Source: VUmc news