CAR inhibitors for the treatment of heart attack

Funded period

2019 – 2021

Granted budget

€ 233,000


heart attack

Therapeutic Principle


Principal Investigator

Michael Gotthardt (Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association)

The Coxsackievirus and Adenovirus Receptor (CAR) is a cell contact protein that mediates virus uptake and is essential for early heart development. Mice lacking CAR are protected against Coxsackievirus infection and show hardly any health restrictions.

In a translational approach, we want to investigate CAR as a therapeutic target protein and develop CAR inhibitors for the treatment of heart disease. Building on our initial evaluation of different CAR inhibitors, we will focus on the production and validation of a human anti-CAR antibody. Our aim is to improve the survival of cardiomyocytes, the remodelling processes and the pumping function of the heart. This work includes investigations in the cell culture system, which will then be validated in animal models.We are convinced that CAR is an excellent therapeutic target for heart disease based on (1) the protective effect of CAR deficiency after heart attack, (2) access to inhibitors and (3) the low level of unwanted side effects when CAR is lacking.