The Institute of Biophysics of the National Research Council welcomes and supports Professor Dario Difrancesco by providing administrative and scientific assistance to his project FANTASY (Fighting AgaiNsT sinus node dysfunction And aSsociated arrhYthmias) funded by the Leducq Foundation. The european coordinator of the project is Matteo Mangoni, Ph. D. – CNRS, Montpellier (France) and Peter Mohler, Ph. D. from the Ohio State University, Columbus (USA) is the North American coordinator. The project aims at investigating the cellular and molecular bases of sinus node dysfunction (SND – or Sick Sinus Syndrome – SSS). SND is a dysfunction of normal pacemaking. It includes several forms of bradyarrhythmias such as sinus bradycardia, sino-atrial block, sinus arrest and others, and is the main cause of pacemaker implantation.
In this context, milestone contributions have been provided by Professor Dario Difrancesco, who described for the first time the “funny” current in the pacemaker cells of the sinoatrial node.
Dario Difrancesco is Professor of Physiology, now Emeritus Professor of Milano University, Associated with the Institute of biophysics and founder of the PaceLab (Laboratory of Molecular Physiology and Neurobiology – Dept. Of Biosciences University of Milan). He has been working in the field of cardiac electrophysiology for over 40 years, studying the properties of cardiac ion channels and the cellular mechanisms regulating the heart rate. Besides a solid network of distinguished european and american research groups, the FANTASY project was selected for Leducq funding also thanks to its fundamental clinical relevance: the chance of developing new therapeutic options to treat such a diffuse arrhythmias, thus avoiding the use of electronic pacemakers, an expensive approach both during implantation and follow-up monitoring