Carmen (Kika) Sucharov, PhD

MicroRNA Expression In Children with Heart Failure
University of Colorado, Denver, CO
Carmen (Kika) Sucharov, PhD – $50,000

Emerging experimental evidence data suggests that the pediatric heart failure population is different from adult patients. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the most common cause of heart failure and reason for cardiac transplantation in children. To date, a reliable profile to predict outcome for children with DCM does not exist, and pediatric cardiologists are not always able to determine the most appropriate medical treatment option for these patients. Although many children with DCM who present in acute decompensated heart failure have a poor outcome, 15-35% of children do recover from the disease. This high potential for recovery underscores the importance of defining biomarkers in children with DCM. This study will look at microRNA expression in the circulating blood of DCM pediatric patients as a possible biomarker that can determine how they will respond to heart failure at the time of disease presentation. MicroRNAs are small nucleic acids that are associated with cardiovascular disease that can be used as a diagnostic and prognostic tool. Certain microRNAs are present in circulating blood and can be associated with poor outcome in adult DCM patients. However its role in children is unknown. This study will define the circulating microRNAs in children with DCM to determine the feasibility of microRNAs as a prognostic marker for pediatric heart failure. The findings from this study have the potential to reduce the high rate of death and cardiac transplant in the pediatric DCM population.