A new research project for the management of heart failure
Our laboratory participates in a large collaborative research project aiming at improving the understanding and management of heart failure. The PACIFIC project, launched by Bpifrance in January 2019, gathers a French consortium of industrials, public hospitals and academic research laboratories. Our role in this five-year project is to develop a novel, portable ultrasound sensor and search for quantitative biomarkers of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
Heart failure occurs when the heart no longer pumps blood properly. Half of the patients are affected with a form called “heart failure with reduced ejection fraction”, which is easily diagnosed and treated. The other half (accounting for 500 000 patients in France) is however suffering from a poorly understood form, called “heart failure with preserved ejection fraction” (HFpEF), associated with a high mortality rate as no efficient treatment exists.
The diversity of profiles of patients affected with HFpEF suggests that the name conceals several different diseases. There is a pressing need for performant diagnosis tools to understand these different sub-types of heart failure, stratify patients and administer the adequate treatment.
Our laboratory proposes a novel portable sensor, based on ultrafast ultrasound methods, to quantify the stiffness of the myocardium (cardiac muscle). This sensor is the first device capable of performing this measurement non-invasively and in real-time during the cardiac cycle. Preliminary studies have shown that the myocardial stiffness could be a determining score in the assessment of HFpEF. Besides, the sensor has been specifically designed to be portable and miniaturized later on.
We will develop five prototypes for a clinical validation in each of the five parisian hospitals enrolled in the PACIFIC project. Our measurements will be correlated with an extensive set of biological and physiological parameters over a large cohort of patients. This comprehensive database will help to better understand the HFpEF. The expected medical impact is huge, as it will enable to classify patients and orient therapeutic decisions. Improving the management of HFpEF will also ultimately reduce the public health costs associated with this disease, which currently amounts to more than 1 billion euros per year in France.
The PACIFIC (Physiopathologie, Classification, Innovation dans l’Insuffisance Cardiaque) consortium involves several Inserm research units as well as Sanofi, Servier, Medicen Paris-Région, Bpifrance, the Secrétariat Général Pour l’Investissement, the Assistance Publique –Hôpitaux de Paris, Bioserenity, Casis, Fealinx and Firalis.