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MMCRI awarded $2.1M by the National Institutes of Health

January 22, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI) has been awarded a four-year, $2.1 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. The funding will support the study of a gene known as Collagen Triple Helix Repeat Containing 1 (CTHRC1), which may play a significant role in heart health, particularly after a heart attack.

Previous studies have suggested that a protein derived from CTHRC1, a gene discovered in the MMCRI lab of Principal Investigator Volkhard Lindner, M.D., Ph.D., helps cells use nutrients more efficiently. Dr. Lindner and fellow Principal Investigator Sergey Ryzhov, M.D., Ph.D., believe the gene could help bodies minimize damage from a heart attack by allowing the heart to survive on fewer nutrients while it’s healing. People with high levels of CTHRC1 in their cardiovascular system have been found to have far higher survival rates after cardiac arrest.

“This study will test whether CTHRC1 provides cardiovascular protection after a heart attack and perhaps prevent heart failure,” Dr. Lindner said. “The research could lead to new therapeutic approaches to improving heart health.”

Currently, approximately 30 percent of healthy adults have detectible levels of CTHRC1 circulating in their blood. Champion athletes have the highest levels of the gene, lending more credence to the theory that the gene plays a role in helping cells repair efficiently.

The research described is supported by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award R01HL146504-01. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2019-2020, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing more than 9,600 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is part of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit

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MMCRI awarded $2.1M by the National Institutes of Health
The funding through the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute supports a study of a gene that may improve healing after a heart attack and prevent heart failure.