The University of Rochester Medical Center announced the creation of a new center that will assist researchers studying the electrical activity of the heart with the goal of improving drug safety, understanding cardiac arrhythmias and developing new electrocardiograph technologies.
The Center for Quantitative Electrocardiology and Cardiac Safety—funded by a $2.3-million grant from the National Institutes of Health—brings together an international network of academic researchers, pharmaceutical and medical device companies and government regulators.
“Cardiac toxicity is one of the leading causes of removal of drugs from the market,” said University of Rochester biomedical engineer Jean-Philippe Couderc, Ph.D., the director of the new center. “The goal of this initiative is to foster collaboration on an international scale and support research that will ultimately improve cardiac safety.”
The new center will focus on developing novel methods and new technologies to evaluate electrocardiographs (ECG) for the purposes of predicting cardiac arrhythmias. The center will help scientists better understand heart disease and determine whether experimental drugs are toxic to the heart.
Sudden cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death and many of these incidents are drug-related—either caused by the drugs themselves or because a drug triggered a predisposition to lethal cardiac arrhythmias.