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Novel therapies for heart failure

Dr Kate Weeks, Institution: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

2021 Vanguard Grant  

Years funded: 2022-2022  

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively. It is a debilitating condition, which leads to breathlessness, dizziness, muscle fatigue, and swelling in the ankles and feet. The mortality rate for heart failure is worse than that for many cancers, with approximately 50% of patients dying within 5 years of diagnosis. In Australia, hospitalisation due to heart failure costs almost $1 billion per year. Better therapies are needed to reduce hospitalisation and to improve quality of life and survival in patients with heart failure. 

Dr Kate Weeks' study will be the first to test a new class of compounds, known as small molecule activators of phosphatases or SMAPs, in a preclinical model that leads to heart failure. SMAPs are able to be taken orally and are well tolerated in other experimental disease models (e.g. cancer). If Dr Kate Weeks' selected SMAP prevents cardiac dysfunction as predicted, this study will pave the way for the development of SMAP-based therapies for the treatment of heart failure.

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