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Decoy oligodeoxynucleotides for the prevention of heart failure

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This research field aims at preclinically validating decoy oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) as a novel class of therapeutic drugs to prevent or treat heart failure.

    

Decoy ODNs, typically 15 to 20 base pairs short double-stranded DNA molecules, mimic the DNA binding site of specific regulatory proteins (transcription factors) in the genome. They interfere with the, in most cases, aberrant expression of disease-related genes by specifically binding to and, as a consequence, blocking the transcription factor controlling their expression.

 

Three different potential transcription factor drug targets are investigated. The most important criterion for choosing them is their proven involvement in the expression of genes primarily responsible for the development of various forms of terminal heart failure.

 

Members of the Division of Cardiovascular Physiology work on the design and optimization of the respective decoy ODNs. In collaboration with other groups at Heidelberg University  in vitro and in vivo model systems for the evaluation of their efficacy have been developed.

 

   

 

Aggregates of rat cardiomyocytes loaded with fluorescent decoy ODNs (red) (cell nuclei: blue)


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