Leading a consortium of institutions, the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine has been awarded $14.4 million in federal backing from NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to find better ways to predict which patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at the greatest risk of heart failure or sudden death. In addition to the NHLBI funding, Siemens Healthcare has agreed to provide support to the project.

The five-year study will follow 2,750 patients for up to five years at 35 to 40 sites in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including the U.K., Italy, and Germany. UVA’s Christopher M. Kramer, M.D., co-principal investigator of the project, will oversee the North American locations, while Kramer’s co-principal investigator, Stefan Neubauer, M.D., of Oxford University, will oversee the European sites. UVA will serve as the lead site for the trial.

Dr. Kramer said in a statement that the goal of the study is to develop better risk predictors, with the long-term goal of enabling more focused therapies. The study will reportedly have three major focuses: imaging, with MRI of the heart to enable doctors to better map and measure the amount of heart thickening, scarring, and fibrosis; genetics, to detect genetic patterns that could be associated with increased risk; and biomarkers, to determine if there are measurable biological indicators in the blood that predict risk. 

“Findings from this research could lead to new ways to prevent or treat these serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions,” said Michael Lauer, M.D., director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at NHLBI, in a statement.

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