The DNABEATS R&D&I project, which seeks to boost cardiac regeneration after myocardial infarction using cutting-edge nanotechnology, gets underway
Research work has begun on the DNABEATS project, which aims to develop advanced technology to boost cardiac regeneration using DNA nanotechnology and gene therapy. The project is endowed with 700,000 euros and has a duration of 3 years. DNABEATS is led by Silvia Hernández Ainsa, ARAID researcher at the University of Zaragoza at the Aragon Nanoscience and Materials Institute (INMA), a joint institute of the CSIC and the University of Zaragoza. In addition, IIS Aragón is also participating in the project, together with other entities from four European countries.
Heart disease, in particular myocardial infarction and its evolution towards heart failure, is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In Spain, the prevalence of heart failure is around 2% of the adult population (age 18), affecting around 8% of people over 80. It is a health problem associated with ageing. Current treatments are insufficient to address this problem, and heart transplantation remains the only solution for heart failure. DNABEATS aims to develop advanced materials to promote post-infarction cardiac regeneration through gene therapy, a form of treatment that seeks to reactivate myocardial proliferation and repair mechanisms that are naturally inactivated after birth, thus preventing progression to failure. Several microRNA molecules (miRs) have demonstrated this ability in vivo in preclinical studies in large animals. However, advanced delivery strategies for miRs are required to overcome their biological instability, achieve their selective transport into cardiac cells and facilitate their translation into clinical medicine.
The main goal of DNABEATS is to create functionalised nanocarriers that deliver cardio-regenerative miRs selectively to damaged areas of the heart. Specifically, it is proposed to use DNA nanotechnology to build DNA-based nanocarriers (DNCs) that outperform other nanosystems used in gene therapy in terms of reproducible yield, biodegradability and simplicity to host large amount of miRs. The DNCs will be functionalised to achieve selective cardiac targeting and increase intracellular delivery of the miR.
The DNABEATS project consortium brings together established researchers from four European countries (Spain, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland) with expertise in complementary and synergistic scientific fields, including: DNA nanotechnology, nucleic acid delivery, cell signalling, proteomics, cardiac research, molecular and cell biology, and nanotoxicity. The team also has an interdisciplinary and transnational advisory board that will be key to broadening the impact of DNABEATS. In addition to Silvia Hernández Ainsa, ARAID researcher at the University of Zaragoza at INMA (CSIC-UNIZAR), who coordinates DNABEATS, the project has the following European partners: Laura Ordovás, ARAID researcher at the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Aragón (IIS Aragón), Margus Pooga from the University of Tartu (Estonia), Mindaugas Valius from the Vilnius University (Lithuania) and Monika Bzowska from the Jagiellonian University (Poland).
This news is part of the action PCI2023-143390 funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033 and co-funded by the European Union, being PCI2023-143390 the reference in the award resolution; MCIN the acronym of the Ministry of Science and Innovation; AEI the acronym of the State Research Agency; 10.13039/501100011033 the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) of the Agency”. DNBEATS was one of the projects selected in the Joint Call 2022 of the M-ERA.NET initiative, an international network co-funded by the European Commission through its Framework Programme for Research and Development (Horizon 2020, GA 958174) to support European research programmes in materials science and engineering.