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Silvio Antoniak, PhD, assistant professor in the UNC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and member of the UNC Blood Research Center and the UNC McAllister Heart Institute, was awarded a four-year, $2.2 million grant from the NIH-NHLBI to investigate the potential therapeutic approach in inhibiting PAR1 to treat chemotherapy-induced heart failure.

The project investigates the contribution of the blood coagulation factor thrombin and its receptor, protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1), to the pathology of doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity. Antoniak showed in collaboration with Nigel Mackman, PhD, (UNC Blood Research Center) that PAR1 deficiency or PAR1 inhibition reduced cardiotoxicity in doxorubicin-treated mice.

The proposed PAR1 pathway inhibition might lead to a new therapy to reduce cardiotoxic side effects of the widely used anti-cancer drug doxorubicin. The funded project has the promise to improve the outcome of chemotherapies and the quality of life of cancer patients. The basic and clinical investigator team combines expertise by Mackman and Brandi Reeves, MD, from the UNC Blood Research Center, and Brian Jensen, MD, from the UNC McAllister Heart Institute.

Antoniak is thankful for the support by NC TraCS and a UNC School of Medicine Boost Award to generate preliminary data leading to the successfully funded NIH R01.