Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Quantitative in vivo imaging of heart failure

Development of in vivo models for research use, drug discovery and drug development (HF-IMAGE)

The HF-IMAGE project brings together molecular biologists, chemists and IT experts in advanced and automated image processing. Together, they aim to improve heart failure management through the development of quantitative imaging technologies for early detection of heart failure (HF).

HF is a serious medical condition that is associated with high morbidity and mortality and a growing problem due to the increasing ageing population. Available treatment options for HF are insufficient, since they do not improve and/or restore cardiac function. Moreover, the heterogeneity of HF patients requires personalised options for optimal management. Currently, good experimental models and biomarkers for experimental and clinical research in HF, as well as patient stratification, are lacking providing a solution to the identified problems.

The availability of new treatment options makes it increasingly important to develop diagnostic tools for early diagnosis of HF. Cardiac fibrosisis among the most important underlying causes of HF, and is characterized by inflammation, overexpression of pro-fibrotic signalling pathways (platelet-derived growth factor-β (PDGF-β), transforming growth factor- β (TGF-β), the formation of excess fibrous connective tissue, and excessive numbers of myofibroblasts. The detection of cardiac fibrosis is of great importance and predictive value for diagnosis of HF.

A validated and standardised experimental HF model will be established in this project. After this project, these models combined with quantitative imaging and a diagnostic probe offer great opportunities for exploitation as a drug development platform for HF. Furthermore, a novel clinical non-invasive imaging method will be developed for detection of cardiac fibrosis as an early biomarker for HF, based on a proprietary radiolabeled peptide. This biomarker will be applicable to optimise the clinical and therapeutic management of several groups of HF patients.