A good example of a successful translational approach is our erythropoietin (EPO) line of research. EPO is known as a hematopoietic hormone; however, non-hematopoietic effects were discovered a decade ago. In experimental studies, we found that EPO in acute myocardial infarction and in chronic heart failure decreased infarct size and improved cardiac function. These experimental data resulted in a small pilot study followed by a large multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the effect of EPO in 529 patients presenting with acute myocardial infarction. These studies demonstrate the realization of a clear translational research line – starting with isolated rats hearts, via experimental acute myocardial infarction studies and eventually leading to a large, multicenter, placebo-controlled trial.


Key publications

 1. Van der Meer P, Voors AA, Lipsic E, van Gilst WH, van Veldhuisen DJ. Erythropoietin in cardiovascular diseases. Eur Heart J 2004 Feb;25(4):285-291.
2. Van der Meer P, Lipsic E, Henning RH, de Boer RA, Suurmeijer AJ, van Veldhuisen DJ, et al. Erythropoietin improves left ventricular function and coronary flow in an experimental model of ischemia-reperfusion injury. Eur J Heart Fail 2004 Dec;6(7):853-859.
3. Van der Meer P, Lipsic E, Henning RH, Boddeus K, van der Velden J, Voors AA, et al. Erythropoietin induces neovascularization and improves cardiac function in rats with heart failure after myocardial infarction. J Am Coll Cardiol 2005 Jul 5;46(1):125-133.
4. Lipsic E, Schoemaker RG, van der Meer P, Voors AA, van Veldhuisen DJ, van Gilst WH. Protective effects of erythropoietin in cardiac ischemia: from bench to bedside. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006 Dec 5;48(11):2161-2167.
5. Lipsic E, van der Meer P, Voors AA, Westenbrink BD, van den Heuvel AF, de Boer HC, et al. A single bolus of a long-acting erythropoietin analogue darbepoetin alfa in patients with acute myocardial infarction: a randomized feasibility and safety study. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther 2006 Apr;20(2):135-141.
6. Voors AA, Belonje AM, Zijlstra F, Hillege HL, Anker SD, Slart RH, et al. A single dose of erythropoietin in ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Eur Heart J 2010 Nov;31(21):2593-2600.