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Project information
Biomarkers to predict cardiac failure, arrhythmias and success of treatment (COHFAR) – University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht

Principal Investigator: Prof. Dr. M. A. Vos
CTMM Program manager: Erna Erdtsieck-Ernste
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT – a type of pacemaker that paces both ventricles) and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs – devices that can detect and stop ventricular fibrillation by applying a synchronized electrical impulse to heart muscle) are effective forms of therapy for patients with heart arrhythmias/cardiac failure but are expensive. There is therefore a real need for patient screening and stratification before these therapies are prescribed instead of lower-cost pharmacological therapies.
The objective of this project is to identify biomarkers that will help to identify patients who have a high risk of cardiac arrhythmias, patients who will respond to CRT and the likely success of CRT/ICD therapy. Candidate biomarker types include genes/gene products, blood substances, relevant proteins (imaged with molecular probes), electrical signals derived from body surface electrodes and indicators of mechanical abnormalities (derived from novel echocardiographic techniques). The project will also seek to identify feedback techniques via which the performance of CRT/ICDs can be optimized to individual patients.
The project includes DNA/microRNA profiling of relevant heart disease patients, investigation of suspected biomarker candidates and improvements in the application of CRT and related device therapies.
  VOS - vos_01.jpg
Prof. Dr. M. A. Vos is head of the department Medical Physiology at UMCU (University Medical Center Utrecht), manager Education and Training of the Division Heart and Lungs and chair of the research program Cardiovascular Sciences. He was trained as an exercise physiologist (cardiac dimensions in professional sportspeople) and received his PhD training in cardiac electrophysiology. His current research program is aimed at enhancing knowledge in the areas of electrical remodeling, arrhythmogenesis and heart failure, through the use of molecular techniques, studies in cell biology, and pre-clinical experiments, and at translating this knowledge into patient care.

Prof. dr. M.A. Vos:
"Creating maximal therapeutic benefit for the individual patient with heart failure and arrhythmias"

Industrial partners:
  • Medtronic, Maastricht
  • MSD, Haarlem


Academic partners:
  • Interuniversitair Cardiologisch Instituut Nederland (ICIN), Utrecht
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht
  • Academisch Medisch Centrum (AMC), Amsterdam
  • Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+), Maastricht 
  • Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen (UMCG), Groningen
  • Vrije Universiteit Medisch Centrum (VU MC), Amsterdam
The CTMM Cohfar project also receives additional contribution from the Netherlands Heart Foundation .
Status of the Cohfar project end of 2009: PDF (download)
Film about the Cohfar project (March 2011, in Dutch): click here.
In response to the first call for project proposals in 2007, the Center for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM) announced on April 1, 2008, that nine first-call projects would receive research funding amounting to a total of 150 million Euro. On March 10, 2009, it announced that eight new project proposals, submitted in the fall of 2008 in response to the second call for proposals, will receive funding amounting to a total of almost another 100 million Euro.
All Dutch university medical centers, plus several universities, a broad spectrum of small and medium-sized enterprises, major industry leaders including Philips and DSM, and the Dutch Government are involved.
The funding is provided by the Dutch government, industry and academia. The research is focused firmly on the ‘translational’ aspects of molecular medicine so that results can be applied as quickly as possible to actual patient care.
Cohfar is one of the projects from the first call.
Update: 13-03-2012




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