Public Release: 

Wake Forest Baptist researcher's team receives $8.5 million grant

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - April 13, 2015 - A research program led by Carlos M. Ferrario, M.D., professor of surgery, nephrology and physiology-pharmacology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has been awarded an $8.5 million grant by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

The funding, a five-year renewal of an existing grant, will allow Ferrario's team to continue its investigations into the causes of and new treatments for cardiovascular disorders, which claim more lives each year than all forms of cancer combined. Ferrario and his collaborators at Wake Forest Baptist, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Medical College of Wisconsin will explore how hormones, long known to be a factor in raising blood pressure, contribute to heart disease and atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat).

Specifically, the investigators hope to unravel the mechanisms by which novel peptides characterized by Ferrario account for sex-specific similarities and differences in heart failure, hypertension and cardiac arrhythmias. The team also will be conducting complementary studies to evaluate new therapies developed by the researchers to halt the progression of heart disease to heart failure.

"We hope that our research may explain the relative lack of efficacy of current medical treatments in reversing the progression of heart disease and atrial fibrillation," Ferrario said.

Ferrario has been the principal investigator since 1982, and the program has been based at Wake Forest Baptist for the past 21 years.

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