Hemodynamically significant calcific aortic valve stenosis (CAVS) affects 3% of the population over age 65, and patients with even moderate aortic valve stenosis (peak velocity of 3-4 m/sec) have a 5 year event-free survival of less than 40%. Presently, there are no effective treatments to slow progression of aortic valve calcification, and aortic valve replacement is the only available treatment for advanced CAVS. Thus, major aims of our research program include: 1) the use of integrative approaches to identify mechanisms contributing to initiation and progression of CAVS, and 2) the use of integrative approaches to identify therapeutic interventions that slow progression of CAVS without negatively impacting other organ systems/tissues in vivo (e.g., skeletal ossification). In the present UH2/UH3 application (submitted in response to the NIH- Industry Pilot Project: Discovering New Therapeutic Uses for Existing Molecules), we propose that a Sanofi compound is a novel pharmacotherapy that can slow progression CAVS. During the UH2 phase of the grant, we aim to provide key proof-of-concept data that this compound: 1) is well tolerated by patients with mild to moderate CAVS, 2) slows progression of CAVS in a robust mouse model of valvular calcification and stenosis, 3) reduces osteogenic signaling in human aortic valve interstitial cells in vitro, and 4) attenuates osteogenic signaling in valves from patients with severe CAVS. Upon meeting appropriate milestones during the UH2 phase of the grant, we will rapidly move towards the UH3 phase of the grant, where we will examine the effects of chronic administration of the compound on accumulation of aortic valve calcium, progression of aortic valve and ventricular dysfunction, and inflammatory cytokine levels in patients with mild to moderate CAVS. Collectively, we believe the proposed studies have a high likelihood of not only providing new insight into fundamental mechanisms regulating gene expression in CAVS, but are also likely to identify the compound as a novel therapeutic agent to slow progression of CAVS in humans.
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