Improving the lives of patients with atrial fibrillation: EU research consortium CATCH ME launched

2% of the European population, and 12-15% of Europe’s octogenarians suffer from atrial fibrillation (AF), a cardiac disease putting them at risk for stroke, cognitive decline, heart failure, and premature death. CATCH ME aims to improve the prevention and treatment of atrial fibrillation and its complications. The goal is to develop and validate better disease management strategies based on the improved understanding of the main health modifiers (such as genes, drugs, and behaviour) leading to atrial fibrillation in the European population. More specifically, CATCH ME will

1. Identify the major health modifiers causing AF in the Elderly in Europe,
2. Develop clinical tools that will personalise the prevention and management of AF patients, and
3. Guide and strengthen future strategies to prevent, diagnose, and treat AF in Europe.

CATCH ME also aims at providing substantial answers to current AF uncertainties such as gender differences by elucidating the reasons why female European citizens seem to be better protected against AF compared to males, or why females are at higher stroke risk than males once they have developed AF.

Beyond evidence generation and therapy recommendations, CATCH ME will combine its research excellence with the knowledge transfer and communication competence of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the Atrial Fibrillation NETwork (AFNET) for the result dissemination. The consortium is working closely together with a global leader in in-vitro diagnostics tests (Roche Professional Diagnostics) who will support the development of existing and novel intellectual property in the consortium into marketable tests. Thus, CATCH ME will generate tangible and sustained improvements in the prevention and management of AF patients in Europe.

CATCH ME will propose the novel AF classification to researchers, health care professionals, and patients throughout Europe. This will be realized by solid scientific underpinning of the clinical tools, educational programmes, and by world-wide provision of CATCH ME apps that can be used on any smart phone.

CATCH ME Structure and Participants:

The CATCH ME partners combine excellence in clinical practice, translational pathophysiology, genetics, bioengineering, epidemiology and biostatistics with competence in the development of cardiovascular practice guidelines. As a consortium, CATCH ME also has access to large sets of human biological specimens (atrial tissue and blood samples) and carefully phenotyped patient populations. This is the basis to define the major causes and risk factors (“health modifiers”) of AF in Europe and characterise distinct clinical types of AF to advance future personalised strategies for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of AF patients.

The consortium is being led by Professor Paulus Kirchhof from the University of Birmingham (UK) and consists of the following 9 partners:

University of Birmingham (UK), Paulus Kirchhof and Larissa Fabritz
Universidad de Barcelona (Spain), Lluis Mont and Eduard Guasch
Maastricht University (Netherlands), Ulrich Schotten, Monika Stoll, Harry Crijns and Stef Zeemering
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich (Germany), Moritz Sinner, Reza Wakili and Stefan Kääb
University of Oxford (UK), Barbara Casadei and Charis Antoniades
Université Pierre Marie Curie (France), Stéphane Hatem
Atrial Fibrillation Network (Germany), Gerlinde Benninger and Günter Breithardt
European Society of Cardiology (France), Stephan Martin and Christina Dimopoulou
UK Health & Environment Research Institute (UK), David Cartlidge and Andy West

The following third parties are also actively involved:

Roche Professional Diagnostics (Switzerland)
parkrun (UK)

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