Edmonton, AB – Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions (AIHS) and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry have awarded the AIHS Translational Health Chair in Cardio-Oncology to Gopinath Sutendra, PhD. Sutendra, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s Division of Cardiology at the University of Alberta, is receiving $2.1 million over seven years to study the molecular pathways of cancer therapies that lead to heart complications.
“It’s a growing clinical problem as many cancer therapies can cause adverse complications to the heart,” said Sutendra. “A subset of patients who are being treated by these therapies experience heart failure, despite responsive tumors. Because of this, patients have to be treated for their heart failure and in some cases also discontinue the cancer therapy.
“My research program is going to look into understanding why these cancer therapies have such a negative effect on the heart, and also try to discover some new and novel translational therapies to prevent this cardiotoxicity. We’re going to try to find a way to target these pathways selectively to prevent the toxic effect of cancer therapies in the heart, but still maintain its benefit against cancer,” he said.
Sutendra uses a collaborative, multidisciplinary and translational approach to cardiovascular and oncology research which includes working with a similar program at the University of Calgary.
“The expectation is that the research program will grow and that we generate promising results with therapeutic implications,” he said. “With these results we can apply for further funding from other agencies – it’s of importance to both the cardiology and oncology field – and can bridge the two fields together in terms of therapeutic applications.”
“Gopinath Sutendra’s important work in cardio-oncology is paving the way for cancer therapies with fewer complications,” said Richard Fedorak, dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. “He is a bright example of the next wave of scientists at the University of Alberta working to protect the health of Canadians and others around the world.”