New‐generation cardiac therapeutic strategies directed to the activation of endogenous regenerative mechanisms
New‐generation cardiac therapeutic strategies directed to the activation of endogenous regenerative mechanisms

REANIMA is supported over 5 years by €8 million funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme

Heart Failure is a main cause of death and morbidity worldwide and is caused in many cases by the poor regenerative ability of the adult mammalian myocardium. REANIMA aims to prevent heart failure by reawakening the endogenous regenerative ability of the mammalian heart. We run a translational effort spanning from the evolution of natural regenerative abilities in different animals, to preclinical trials for innovative therapies.

Cardiovascular disease

is the leading cause of death in the world.

Heart failure is a worldwide epidemic that imposes a heavy societal burden in death, disease, and escalating economic costs and can only be resolved by heart transplantation.

The inability of the human heart to regenerate myocardium lost during a heart attack is the major factor in a high proportion of cases of heart failure.

To resolve this problem, Dr Torres said that “the goal of REANIMA is to provide new therapies for heart regeneration.”


Regenerative capacity

Until now, clinical trials based on the introduction of stem cells into the heart have not shown regenerative capacity.

However, studies of spontaneous and induced heart regeneration in animal models suggest that the path to progress lies in the reactivation of endogenous regenerative mechanisms. Fish and amphibians are able to regenerate their hearts, and although mammals have historically been considered to lack this capacity, regeneration was recently shown to occur in injured hearts of newborn mice.

Unfortunately, in adult mammals, including humans, the heart’s residual capacity to regenerate is insufficient to recover function naturally.


Meet our Scientific Teams

Miguel Torres

Miguel Torres, PhD, is a group leader of the of the Genetic Control of Organ Development and Regeneration Group at CNIC. Dr. Torres has made important contributions to understanding organ development and regeneration mechanisms and has recently described the phenomenon of Cell Competition as an endogenous cell selection mechanism in the mammalian embryo.

Javier Terriente

Javier Terriente, PhD, is the co-founder and CSO of ZeC. Dr. Terriente is an expert in zebrafish development and the exploitation of this animal model in pre-clinical assays. He is also the scientific director of the company and is leading the design and development of the scientific services portfolio and internal drug discovery pipelines.

Thomas Eschenhagen

Thomas Eschenhagen, PhD, is Director of the Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology at UKE. The scientific career of Prof. Eschenhagen spans over 30 years in the field of molecular cardiology with a focus on adrenergic control of the heart, stem cells and tissue engineering.
  1. Nowoshilow S, Schloissnig S, …, Tanaka EM, Myers EM (2017). The axolotl genome and the evolution of key tissue formation regulators. Nature. 554(7690):50-55.
  2. Oliveira CR, …, Tanaka EM. (2017) Pseudotyped baculovirus is an effective gene expression tool for studying molecular function during axolotl limb regeneration. Dev Biol S0012-1606(17)30438-4
  3. Fei JF, Schuez M, …, Tanaka EM. (2017). Efficient gene knockin in axolotl and its use to test the role of satellite cells in limb regeneration. . Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:12501-12506.
  4. Currie JD, Kawaguchi A …, Tanaka EM. (2016). Live Imaging of Axolotl Digit Regeneration Reveals Spatiotemporal Choreography of Diverse Connective Tissue Progenitor Pools. Dev Cell 39:411-423.
  5. Nacu E, Shabanova E, …, Tanaka EM. (2016). SHH and FGF8 substitute anterior/posterior tissue interactions to induce limb regeneration. Nature 533:407-410.
  6. Gabisonia, K., Prosdocimo, G., Aquaro, G.D., Carlucci, L., Zentilin, L., Secco, I., Ali, A., Braga, L., Gorgodze, N., Bernini, F., Burchielli, S., Collesi, C., Zandonà, L., Sinagra, G., Piacenti, M., Zacchigna, S., Bussani, R., Recchia, F.A., Giacca, M. (2019). MicroRNA therapy stimulates uncontrolled cardiac repair after myocardial infarction in pigs. Nature, in press


All the REANIMA project publications.

To read the full list