Testing a new drug to treat broken heart syndrome

Early metabolic intervention in acute stress-induced (Tako-tsubo) cardiomyopathy

Dana Dawson (lead researcher)

Aberdeen, University of

Start date: (Duration 3 years)

Supervised by Dr Dana Dawson, this PhD student is investigating a new way to treat a disorder called acute stress-induced (Takotsubo) cardiomyopathy, also known as ‘broken heart’ disease.

In broken heart syndrome, stressful situations trigger the same symptoms as a heart attack, and although the coronary arteries are not blocked, the risk of complications is similar to people having an actual heart attack. We do not yet fully understand what causes Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, and there are currently no treatments to prevent a repeat attack.

Dr Dawson’s team has discovered that the heart cells of people with Takotsubo cannot produce energy efficiently. They have developed a rat model that mimics the energy problem seen in humans. The PhD student working on this project will test the effects of a drug called trimetazidine in this rat model. Trimetazidine changes the way that energy is generated in heart cells from fat breakdown, which Dr Dawson believes could be harmful in Takotsubo, to sugar breakdown, which can produce energy rapidly.

By finding out if trimetazidine can restore energy production in the animal model of broken heart syndrome, this research could provide the scientific basis for a clinical trial to test this strategy in patients.

Project details

Grant amount £106,121
Grant type Fellowship
Application type PhD Studentship
Start Date
Duration 3 years
Reference FS/16/39/32174
Status In progress

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