Crazy Idea sessions
The medical world is evolving rapidly, we want to remain flexible with the research project and also take advantage of new developments. That is why our Foundation organises a “Crazy Ideas” session twice a year, national and international. During this session we ask medical scientists to come up with alternative ideas to make the disease caused by the PLN mutation treatable. For each session, we make a budget available to follow up on the best idea. At the end of a “Crazy Ideas” session, it is immediately announced which researcher is granted the budget.
Crazy Ideas 2019 – Dr. Sakthivel Sadayappan
The proposal of Dr. Sakthivel Sadayappan concerns the investigation of the sarcomeer (smallest contractile unit in the heart muscle cell) in isolated heart muscle cells from mouse hearts.
Crazy Ideas 2019 – Allen Teng
The proposal by PhD student Allen Teng from Toronto is about breaking PLN within the cell.
Crazy Ideas 2019 – Curing Cardiac Fibrosis
Tom Bracco Gartner and Renée Maas won the European Crazy Idea Call. They will try to establish a human in vitro 3D model for cardiac fibrosis.
Crazy Ideas 2018 – Early detection
In December 2018 the Crazy Idea emphasis was on “early detection”. The winner was the project “Early Detection of contractile dysfunction in Phospholamban mutation carriers with echocardiographic deformation” by Karim Taha and Arco Teske. Using algorithms and image recognition software, the researchers will analyze echo images at certain places in the heart that are missed by the human eye. This technique will allow ultrasound images from the past five years to be analyzed again to see whether the onset of the disease could have been detected earlier. By now, we know better where in the heart the disease usually develops. With this software it is possible to look at this even more specifically. The software can also be used in the future, when the first therapies are tested on patients. Echocardiogram is a simple and less stressful examination for patients and one that could measure the effect of the therapy in this way.
Crazy Ideas 2018 – Antisense
In spring 2018, a Crazy Idea Call was awarded to Niels Grote Beverborg for a project with Antisense therapy. Antisense is a treatment that inhibits the creation of the entire PLN gene (both the good and the mutated part). His research focuses on an experimental drug from the manufacturers AstraZeneca and Ionis.
Crazy Ideas 2017 / 2018 – Inflammation
Patricia Van Hooydock -Van der Hoogen investigated if inflammatory reactions in the heart have an important role in causing PLN carriers to fall ill. For her research, she uses the blood that we have collected during the last PLN days.
Crazy Ideas 2017 – Silencing
Dr. A. Tijsen works in Amsterdam UMC with the silencing technology. They try to label the mutated cell so they can interfere.
Crazy Ideas 2017 – Istaroxime
Treatment of people (with other heart problems) with Istaroxime is already permitted, but because the half-life of the drug is short, it must be infused. Long-term treatment causes (fatal) poisoning symptoms, which means that it can only be used for a short period of time. Prof. Antonia Zaza approached us from the University of Milano Bicocca in Italy. In collaboration with the manufacturer of the drug, he has developed analogues of Istaroxime that have a longer half- life and no longer have a toxic side effect. For additional research with these analogues, heart muscle cells from Stanford have also been made available to him.