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Research areas

Liryc’s research teams bring together experts in mathematical, computer, physical, biological, chemical and clinical sciences to understand the mechanisms of heart arrhythmias.

The research areas come directly from the clinic and observations made about patients, which makes Liryc's scientific programme unique.

The researchers are primarily studying atrial fibrillation, ventricular fibrillation, heart failure , with the aim of developing new therapeutic strategies implemented worldwide. 

Atrial fibrillation

With regard to atrial fibrillation, Liryc's clinicians have identified the sources of these uncontrolled contractions in the pulmonary veins.

However, the cellular mechanism responsible in the pulmonary veins and the potential molecular targets are still unknown.

Curative treatment has been developed: cauterising the pulmonary veins with a radiofrequency catheter to isolate these sources of arrhythmia. However, progress is still necessary to improve the screening, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of this arrhythmia:

  • to develop better ablation devices for safer, faster and easier procedures,
  • to develop specific drug therapies targeting the venous cells,
  • to develop biomarkers as well as new strategies.

So, research projects are focused on these challenges. 

Ventricular fibrillation

Young patients with genetic predisposition or simply an electrical disorder may develop this type of arrhythmia, but most ventricular arrhythmias occur in association with structural heart disease. Nearly 40% of sudden deaths occur as a complication of acute myocardial infarct and are potentially reducible by the prevention of risk factors and coronary ischemia.

Liryc’s clinicians have located the sources of sudden death in the heart’s electrical system, called the Purkinje network. An innovative curative treatment by destroying the sources of arrhythmia by thermoablation helps prevent sudden death.

The major challenge, which the research teams are focusing on, is identifying high-risk individuals. Indeed, currently their survival rate does not exceed 4% because it is still not possible to identify them. There is significant progress to be made, given that these individuals could be fitted with an implantable defibrillator or treated with anti-arrhythmic drugs. 

Heart failure

With regard to heart failure, Liryc’s clinicians have helped to develop a therapy, consisting of resynchronising the heart with pacing leads.

The therapy has spread rapidly clinically, despite limited understanding of its mechanisms of action. Applied at an early stage of the condition, it can prevent its development and worsening and would have a significant clinical and socio-economic impact.

Further progress requires intensive basic research to understand the electrical disorders responsible for heart failure, and conversely, how cardiac resynchronization can improve myocardial function and prognosis. Good collaboration between scientists, clinicians, and industry should be developed to support technological advances for optimal treatment and a better follow-up of patients with this condition.

Key figures:

  • 1249 scientific articles published since 2012,
  • 144 researchers, distributed across 4 clusters.