Poster Title

Developing new therapies for heart failure

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

CD 5

KY Senate District #

CD 5

Department

Physiology

Abstract

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Kentucky. Hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease cost our state ~$4 billion each year; treating patients who have heart failure accounts for 10% of this cost. (All data from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services).

Patients who have heart failure struggle to pump enough blood to meet their body's basal demands. Drugs can help with symptoms but do not completely restore function. The only cure for heart failure is a cardiac transplant but just 0.25% of Americans who would benefit from the procedure will receive a new heart. New therapies are desperately needed.

As undergraduates, we have spent 18 months helping in research lab at the University of Kentucky. Our group collaborates with the Center for Transplant and Organ Failure and the Gill Heart Institute to obtain cardiac samples from organ donors and from patients undergoing surgeries. The samples we collect are used in research studies and sent to other researchers around the world.

We have also performed biophysical experiments measuring how two drugs, omecamtive mercabil and isoproterenol alter the way cardiac cells contract. Our data show that omecamtiv mercabil increases the magnitude of contraction while isoproterenol makes cells contract faster. Both drugs affect cells from the left and right sides of the heart in similar ways. These data provide new information about cardiac contraction and may help scientists to accelerate the development of better therapies for heart failure.

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Developing new therapies for heart failure

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Kentucky. Hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease cost our state ~$4 billion each year; treating patients who have heart failure accounts for 10% of this cost. (All data from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services).

Patients who have heart failure struggle to pump enough blood to meet their body's basal demands. Drugs can help with symptoms but do not completely restore function. The only cure for heart failure is a cardiac transplant but just 0.25% of Americans who would benefit from the procedure will receive a new heart. New therapies are desperately needed.

As undergraduates, we have spent 18 months helping in research lab at the University of Kentucky. Our group collaborates with the Center for Transplant and Organ Failure and the Gill Heart Institute to obtain cardiac samples from organ donors and from patients undergoing surgeries. The samples we collect are used in research studies and sent to other researchers around the world.

We have also performed biophysical experiments measuring how two drugs, omecamtive mercabil and isoproterenol alter the way cardiac cells contract. Our data show that omecamtiv mercabil increases the magnitude of contraction while isoproterenol makes cells contract faster. Both drugs affect cells from the left and right sides of the heart in similar ways. These data provide new information about cardiac contraction and may help scientists to accelerate the development of better therapies for heart failure.