Research Strategy - Focus on Translation
In the laboratories of the basic researchers, important discoveries are made about what happens at the molecular level during the development of cardiovascular diseases: How do cells and tissues react, which messenger substances are involved in the disease development, which genes are altered?
The process of turning these findings into a therapy is called translation and involves many other research steps. These are often very time-consuming and cost-intensive and the level of scientific innovation is not quite as high as in the first place. Nevertheless, these steps are very important and there are no new therapies without them.
The DZHK has therefore agreed on a joint research strategy that envisions to focus on selected steps of the translation process.These steps are considered to be very challenging and are rarely dealt with:
Research focus - reducing cardiovascular diseases
With our research we want to prevent heart attacks. The key to this is the plaques that form in the vascular walls of the heart muscle arteries. When the plaques break open, blood platelets accumulate, clogging the blood vessels. If these two processes can be stopped, the heart attack would not occur in the first place.
A survived heart attack often results in heart failure. Today, doctors can already stop the progression of heart failure, but they can not yet make a weak heart strong again. DZHK researchers are therefore looking for ways to regenerate the heart, for example by replacing the diseased heart tissue with heart cells grown in the laboratory.
Congenital heart defects and heart failure are the most frequent causes of sudden cardiac death. The underlying processes can be very different. The researchers want to find out how this tragic phenomenon occurs in detail, who is particularly at risk and how sudden cardiac death can be prevented.
Cardiac arrhythmias significantly affect the quality of life, and in the case of atrial fibrillation, they can even be fatal if there is a stroke due to blood clots in the atrium. DZHK researchers want to improve diagnostics and are looking for treatment options for patients who do not respond to current interventional procedures.
In addition, the DZHK will investigate how people can protect themselves against cardiovascular diseases or prevent their progression. DZHK researchers, including psychologists, sports scientists and nutrition experts, are therefore jointly planning extensive studies on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.