A Missouri-wide consortium led by Washington University School of Medicine has joined a national heart-failure research network sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The consortium is one of only nine such groups in the United States.
The Washington University Heart Failure Network includes Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis University, the St. Louis Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and the University of Missouri-Columbia.
With a $3.5 million, seven-year grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the network is responsible for coordinating clinical trials to investigate innovative treatments for heart failure within its own region and the eight other regional centers.
Douglas Mann, MD, chief of the cardiovascular division at Washington University, emphasizes that one advantage of the network is its ability to conduct trials that would not necessarily be funded by industry. Most pharmaceutical companies support trials intended to gain approval for new therapies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“No company would fund trials to tell you what doses to give or how to use offpatent medicines,” Mann says. “But these are questions clinicians face every day. We’re now able to do these studies using inexpensive drugs that may change the way we practice medicine.”