Public Release:  Fondation Leducq awards $6 million grant for global research network for cardiac regeneration

New Transatlantic Network of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Established with the Cardiovascular Research Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

The Fondation Leducq in Paris, France, dedicated to improving human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease, awarded a $6 million grant award to a new global research network of cardiovascular scientists which includes three researchers from the Cardiovascular Research Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

This new large grant was awarded as part of the Fondation Leducq's Transatlantic Networks of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Program. Network researchers will aim to identify cellular and molecular targets to help advance cardiac regeneration therapeutics. Their research proposal was one of only four research projects selected this year for funding by the foundation from among one hundred applications. Research is planned to launch in January 2014.

The new global network brings together physician-scientists with leading expertise in developmental biology, cardiac stem cell biology, biomarkers, gene therapy, metabolism, immunology, pharmacogenomics, and clinical cardiology.

The new research network includes Mount Sinai's Roger Hajjar, MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Mount Sinai, Jean-Sebastien Hulot, MD, PhD, Director of Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Therapeutics at the Cardiovascular Research Center at Mount Sinai, and Jason Kovacic, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine in Cardiology at Mount Sinai. Other network members include: Toren Finkel, MD, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health, the North American Coordinator; David Sassoon, PhD, of the Universite de Pierre et Marie Curie-Sorbonne Universites in Paris, France, the European Coordinator; Thomas Braun, MD, PhD, of Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany; Richard Harvey, PhD, of Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney, Australia; Nadia Rosenthal, PhD, of the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College in London, UK; and Mark Sussman, PhD, of San Diego State University, SDSU Heart Institute, in San Diego, CA.

"Working together, our research network has the extraordinary opportunity to investigate novel methods for cardiac regeneration to repair injured hearts," says Dr. Hajjar, who also serves as the Arthur & Janet C. Ross Professor of Medicine and Professor of Gene & Cell at Mount Sinai. "Our ultimate mission is to advance this emerging translational medicine field with discovery and the rapid translation of novel cardiac regenerative therapies from the laboratory bench to the patient's clinic for testing in innovative clinical trials."

Currently, there is no scientific consensus on what process governs or restricts cardiac regeneration. The research network hopes to gain a greater comprehensive understanding of the roles played by cardiac stem cells, heart muscle cells known as cardiomyocytes, and other cardiac cell types that regulate cardiac regeneration to assess their potential capabilities to assist in the revival and regeneration of a damaged heart and its tissues for patients diagnosed with impaired cardiac function or structural damage.

As of 2013, Fondation Leducq has supported 39 research networks, more than 360 investigators at 123 institutions in 18 countries. The Fondation Leducq was created in 1996 by Jean and Sylviane Leducq to support collaborative work between investigators in North America and Europe. The Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Research Program was launched in 2003.

The Cardiovascular Research Center at Mount Sinai directed by Dr. Hajjar was founded in 2007. It conducts cross-disciplinary basic and translational cardiovascular research to prevent and reverse heart disease, heart failure, and atherosclerosis which is the hardening of the heart's arteries due to plaque buildup -- a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. The Center's research investigations focus on cardiovascular disease, heart failure, vascular disease, heart valve problems, and ventricular dysfunction.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the world. New global research alliances like ours, thanks to the generous support of the Fondation Leducq, will truly accelerate the development of more refined therapies to ease the wide-reaching burden of cardiovascular disease," says Dr. Hajjar.

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About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Established in 1968, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of the leading medical schools in the United States. The Icahn School of Medicine is noted for innovation in education, biomedical research, clinical care delivery, and local and global community service. It has more than 3,400 faculty members in 32 departments and 14 research institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation's oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital 14th on its elite Honor Roll of the nation's top hospitals based on reputation, safety, and other patient-care factors. Mount Sinai is one of just 12 integrated academic medical centers whose medical school ranks among the top 20 in NIH funding and by U.S. News & World Report and whose hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 560,000 outpatient visits took place.

For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org.

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