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UR research team gets $2.9M NIH grant

By WILL ASTOR - 2/5/2014 4:51:34 PM

A University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry research team has won $2.9 million as its share of a $9 million National Institutes of Health grant supporting research into a leading cause of sudden death in young people.

The UR team, led by cardiology professor Wojciech Zareba M.D., is part of a group that includes University of Cincinnati, University of Arizona, University of Colorado and Harvard University researchers investigating a group of heart-muscle disorders known as arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathies.

The AVC consortium had previously been funded by an expired 2008 NIH grant.

AVC events are responsible for the 20 percent of the unexpected deaths of otherwise healthy men and women with peak occurrences hitting individuals in their 30s.

Zareba describes the disorder as tracing to a lack of a substance that normally serves as a sort of glue holding muscles together. Without it, heart muscles under stress move in a disordered fashion.

Susceptibility to AVCs is genetic in 40 percent of cases and many diagnosed with the condition are athletes. The new funding enables researchers to continue work to identify new genes responsible for AVCs and biomarkers pointing to the condition.

In other news, UR Medicine’s Affordable Health Partners LLC physician organization has named Robert McCann M.D. as CEO, UR Medical Center officials said Wednesday.

AHP includes some 900 UR Medicine employed physicians and a number of area private practice doctors. McCann, who is also Highland Hospital chief of medicine and UR Medicine acting chief of geriatrics, previously served as AHP’s interim CEO.

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