What Does Future Of Heart Research Hold?

NHMRC grant recepients

It’s national heart health awareness week and you’re encouraged to take steps to reduce your heart disease risk.

At the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, we spend a lot of time researching ways to improve heart disease prevention and treatment, including more accurate ways to detect who is at risk of heart disease.

Right now, we’re harnessing new technologies to fight heart disease and halt disease progression.

One exciting area of exploration is the investigation of mRNA therapeutic approaches for heart disease, with the ultimate aim of developing a vaccine for atherosclerosis — a build-up of cholesterol plaque in the arteries which contributes to 80 per cent of cardiovascular diseases.

The successful use of mRNA to develop COVID-19 vaccines, and the speed at which they were developed, has shone a spotlight on mRNA technology and its potential for use across other applications.

Beyond the world of infectious diseases, mRNA has emerged as a promising technology for creating a new class of medications to treat cancers and genetic diseases. However, cardiometabolic diseases have not yet been a focus.

To address this, we are pioneering mRNA-based therapies for addressing unmet needs in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. We have launched a Centre for Cardiometabolic mRNA Therapy which builds on our unique scientific capabilities at our Melbourne location, which is already home to some of the global industry and scientific leaders in mRNA technology.

Leading this mRNA Centre is Associate Professor Xiaowei Wang, who is working on an innovative research project that aims to develop messenger-RNA therapeutics for atherosclerosis.

“This is a very exciting area of research,” A/Prof Xiaowei Wang says. “mRNA holds significant promise because it combats disease in an entirely different way than most drugs on the market. mRNAs can be delivered to the cells with coded personalised instructions to make specific proteins, some of which can prevent disease with the added benefit of reduced side effects.”

/Baker Institute Public Release. View in full here.