The project addresses generation and establishment of programmed heart pacemaker cells to be used in in vitro drug testing. The tools will offer the possibility to conduct novel, predictive assays that will pave the way towards treatment of cardiac arrhythmias at an early stage of drug development. Beyond, the system will open advantages in testing the safety of different pharmaceuticals while concomitantly, animal experimentation will be reduced.
iRhythmics/P3 – Cellular reprogramming into pacemaker cells through viral vectors and their functional characterization
This grant is meant to improve within the funding period the professional qualifications of talented junior scientists by executing an excellent scientific program within research associations.
Within Subproject P3 it is intended to establish direct reprogramming of murine and human cardiomyocytes towards cardiac pacemaker cells by lentivirus- adenovirus derived vectors. Furthermore, lentiviral vectors will be utilized as tools towards forward-programming of induced pluripotent stem cells. As proof-of-principle in the framework of this project, in vitro transduction will take place via polycistronic lentiviral vectors bearing expression cassettes each consisting of a marker and a transcription factor gene. By means of these vectors, optimized combinations of programming factors will be channeled into the cells to be reprogrammed, initially with known transcription factors.
This project is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) program of the European Union (ESF/14-BM-A55-0026/18).