Barry London, MD, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, received a four-year, $1.8 million R01 grant from the NIH to investigate the effects of radiation on the heart. Treatment for lung and esophageal cancer exposes the heart to radiation, which can eventually cause abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death.
“We will use normal and genetically altered mice to identify genes, microRNAs, and pathways important for causing and preventing these rhythm disturbances,” London said.
Specifically, London will assess the MMS350 radiation mitigator’s ability to prevent these potentially fatal side effects of radiation in the heart. The MMS350, a water soluble radiation protector, was developed by the University of Pittsburgh to lessen the effects of harsh radiation exposure during radiation treatment.
London’s team includes co-investigators Internal Medicine’s Kaiko Irani, MD; Isabella Grumbach, MD, PhD; Denice Hodgson-Zingman, MD; and Radiation Oncology’s Doug Spitz, PhD. Joel Greenberger, MD, FACRO, FACR, chair of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh, will also join London’s team as a consultant.
London’s other active R01 examines how the sodium ion channel transfers energy and possibly contributes to arrythmias.