Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Treatment of Major Depression in Patients with Heart Failure

Major depression (MD) is common in patients with heart failure, and it is an independent risk marker for functional decline, hospitalization, and mortality. Two large trials have shown that it can be difficult to treat. SADHART-CHF, a double-blind, placebo-controlled RCT (n=469), found that sertraline was not efficacious for MD in HF. MOOD-HF (n=372) showed that escitalopram was not efficacious. Smaller trials of cognitive-behavioral ...more »

Submitted by (@freedlak)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Major depression causes considerable emotional distress and functional impairment. It follows a chronic or recurrent course in many cases, and untreated episodes can last for months or even years. When superimposed on chronic heart failure, major depression can accelerate functional decline, diminish quality of life, and increase the risks of hospitalization and mortality. Effective treatment of depression can, at minimum, improve quality of life. Treatment may also decrease the risk of adverse medical outcomes, but RCTs will be needed to evaluate the potential medical benefits of treating depression in HF.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Cognitive behavior therapy is the most promising approach tested so far, but there have been few trials of this intervention, any other psychotherapeutic treatment for depression, or antidepressant medications other than sertraline or escitalopram for major depression in HF. Additional phase II trials may be needed in order to identify the most promising approaches for testing in larger, multicenter RCTs.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Kenneth E. Freedland, PhD

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27 up votes
19 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Develop Targeted Therapeutics to Treat Venous Thrombosis and Inflammation in Venous Thromboembolism

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) afflicts nearly a million Americans yearly, has a mortality of 6-12% and has costs of more than $15 billion. Current treatment regimens, systemic anticoagulation and compression stockings, fail patients in multiple ways: risk of major bleeding episodes; failure of clot resolution in up to 50% of patients; failure to prevent the development of post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) in up to 40% of ...more »

Submitted by (@chanduvem)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) is a common disease with established treatment regimens that have been repeatedly proven to fail patients. The disease process affects a million Americans, and projections are that this will increase to 1.82 million by 2050. VTE affects a wide range of the U.S. population including young pregnant women, cancer patients ,hospitalized patients and the ever expanding elderly sector. Despite recent advances the incidence of the disease is unchanged and treatment failures include failure to resolve clot, failure to prevent long-term recurrence and failure to treat vein wall inflammation which results in the development of post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) in up to 40% of patients. There are significant complications from the approved systemic treatment regimens including bleeding from anticoagulation therapy and potentially fatal complications from inferior vena cava filters. In cases of severe chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a common sequela of VTE, quality of life survey results mirror those of chronic lung disease, coronary disease and debilitating arthritis. The cost of VTE is nearly $15.5 billion in the U.S. alone. PTS significantly affects patients and up to 42% of patients lose workdays with a cost per patient of $11,667 and a cost to the overall system of $16 billion. Addressing this critical challenge will help to decrease mortality and morbidity in a large, active sector of the U.S. population and save the healthcare system billions.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

This critical challenge comes at an opportune time as multiple platforms for targeted therapies have been tested, proven to be efficacious and nearing approval for use in patients. Basic science research in venous thrombosis has advanced significantly with well established in-vitro and in-vivo models. Furthermore, significant work has been done to reveal multiple targets for clot resolution and for the treatment of vein wall inflammation. Thus the critical information is known and therapeutics available to make addressing this challenge highly feasible.

There will be challenges to addressing this clinical need. The first challenge may be developing and/or identifying the most relevant animal model. There are multiple established animal models and these may need to be modified to provide the best simulation of the clinical situation being addressed. Secondly, there are multiple delivery platforms that would be suitable to this project including nanomedicine based therapies. These would have to be optimized and tested in this research realm and then would need FDA approval . Lastly, following pre-clinical studies it will take large scale clinical studies to prove the efficacy and then require re-education to adopt this approach in the treatment of patients with thrombosis. Fortunately understanding and addressing these challenges will ultimately result in an improved therapy for patients with venous thromboembolism.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Chandu Vemuri

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4 net votes
6 up votes
2 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Gene Therapy for Rare Lung Diseases

Accelerating the research to find suitable viral vectors and delivery systems to inhale gene therapy deeply into the lungs. Distal therapy is important for several fatal lung diseases. This is urgent and critical research.

Submitted by (@dappell)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

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3 net votes
5 up votes
2 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Maximizing anti-tumor immunity following allogeneic HCT with biomarkers

Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT) is one of the most effective forms of tumor immunotherapy available to date. Allo-HCT can be life-saving for patients with aggressive malignancies that cannot be cured through other strategies. The immunotherapeutic efficacy of allo-HCT depends on donor T cell recognition of alloantigens on leukemic cells, which is known as the graft-versus-tumor effect (GVT). No ...more »

Submitted by (@sophpacz)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Allo-HCT represents the only curative therapy for a number of malignant disorders but often results in serious complications, including GVHD. Because GVHD is such a potentially devastating post-transplant complication and because we want to be able to separate GVHD from the GVT effect, it is crucial to try to determine a specific biological pattern link to the favorable GVT effect. The focus of this critical challenge will be to develop a novel, non-invasive GVT signature in patients undergoing HCT. If successful, this will have a major impact, because a GVT-specific proteomic signature may facilitate the clinical therapeutic decision of rapid taper of immunosuppression or increased immunotherapies. The ability to identify patients who will not develop GVT early post-transplant has important therapeutic consequences, including preventative care with donor-lymphocyte infusion (DLI) or tumor-specific vaccines or T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Equally important is the identification of patients who will develop GVT without GVHD, potentially enabling more rapid tapering of immunosuppressive regimens and thereby promoting even more the GVT reaction as well as reducing long-term toxicity in these patients. With this diagnostic tool, the HCT community may plan to develop preemptive therapeutic trials. In addition, the biomarkers may represent potential GVT-specific therapeutic targets to maximize GVT and/or immunotherapies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Using proteomics, several GVHD biomarkers were recently identified and validated. For example, high suppression of tumorigenicity 2 (ST2) plasma concentrations were significantly associated with the incidence of GVHD and transplant-related mortality in recipients of unmanipulated graft and cord blood transplants. Consequently, the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trial network is currently pursuing therapeutic interventions for newly diagnosed GVHD patients based on GVHD biomarkers risk-stratification. Thus, discovering and validating biomarkers post-HCT is feasible. However, the challenges with GVT-specific biomarkers are three-fold: 1) the absence of phenotype, as the only way to define clinical GVT without GVHD, is the absence of relapse and no GVHD post-HCT; 2) the paucity of samples to study GVT, ideally samples following DLI or nonmyeloablative conditioning preparative regimens that permit stable engraftment of donor hematopoietic cells but have little or no direct tumoricidal activity should be available; and 3) the relative lack of knowledge of the biology of GVT. These represent important challenges to solve. In sum, the recent successes of cancer immunotherapies, particularly for the treatment of hematological malignancies, have stimulated interest in the potential widespread application of these approaches, and biomarkers to predict and monitor the responses are required.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Sophie Paczesny

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32 net votes
52 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Develop an Effective and Functional Biological Pacemaker

There is a need to develop a biological pacemaker for pediatric patients that would react to neurohumoral factors that normally modulate heart function, as well as adapt to the growing heart.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Reduce risks associated with the increasing use implantable pacemakers. Increase reliability of artificial electrical pacemakers.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Animal studies have already demonstrated feasibility of cell- and gene-based as well as hybrid approaches.

The introduction of implantable medical devices using electrical impulses through electrodes placed in the heart to regulate its beating in patients whose native cardiac pacemakers fail— i.e., implantable electronic pacemakers— have permitted hundreds of thousands of individuals to live extended, relatively normal lives. Many advances since the introduction of implantable pacemakers into medical practice during the latter half of the 20th century have improved reliability, but their use still carries significant risks; e.g., lead fracture, infection, malfunction, and the need for replacement.

To date experimental cell therapy, gene therapy, and hybrid approaches have been used to create biological pacemakers in animal models. These incorporate the use of human embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells or overexpression of the transcription factor, TBX18, to produce functional biological pacemakers in large animal models. Other gene therapy approaches have also been used to generate functional biological pacemakers in animals. These include overexpression of ion channels impacting diastolic membrane depolarization and excitability in non-pace making regions of large animal hearts. Beta-2 receptor or adenylyl cyclase overexpression represent other strategies that have been employed. Finally, a hybrid approach has used human mesenchymal stem cells loaded with the pacemaker gene HCN2is to induce pacemaker activity in large animals. Thus multiple approaches exist and collaboration is needed between investigative groups to overcome the challenge of creating and testing an effective and reliable biological pacemaker in humans.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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8 net votes
23 up votes
15 down votes
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Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Role of non-coding RNAs in cardiovascular biology and disease

Noncoding RNAs field is still in its infancy. It includes microRNA and long-non-coding RNA. Recent studies show that Non-coding RNA play important roles in the regulation of tissue homeostasis and pathophysiological conditions. miRNA-based therapeutics showed promising results in numerous animal models of heart failure, cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis and hyperlipidaemias, and showed success in in-human clinical trial ...more »

Submitted by (@totaryjainh)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Genetic studies using gain- or loss-of- function approaches suggest that lncRNAs can indeed contribute to cardiac or vascular dysfunction. Moreover, targeting of lncRNAs in a cell-selective manner might be possible to treat cardiovascular disease. This may open up the opportunity for the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The regulation of lncRNAs has been documented in different disease models however the function is only known for a few lncRNAs. The fact that most lncRNAs are poorly conserved and are expressed as various transcript variants challenges the identification of specific biological functions and mechanisms of action. Combination of microRNA target sequesnces and long-non-coding RNA may allow for a novel cell-selective therapies.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Hana Totary-Jain

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5 net votes
10 up votes
5 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Arrhythmia Therapies Based on Understanding Mechanisms

There is a need to translate these new insights of genetic, molecular, cellular, and tissue arrhythmia mechanisms into the development of novel, safe, and new therapeutic interventions for the treatment and prevention of cardiac arrhythmias.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator1)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Reduced socioeconomic burden of cardiac arrhythmias. Development of new technologies and recognition of new arrhythmia mechanisms.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Several studies have already recognized the unexpected antiarrhythmic effects of some therapies intended for other cardiovascular disease. For example statins, aldosterone blockers, and possibly some essential fatty acids may reduce arrhythmia burden in patients receiving these interventions. Clinical trials should be developed to demonstrate the efficacy of these interventions, and arrhythmia endpoints, including those for atrial fibrillation and sudden cardiac death, should be incorporated into other large clinical trials. Research into novel antiarrhythmic might focus on (a) drug development; (b) cell/gene-based therapy and tissue engineering; and (c) improvements in development and use of devices and ablation to prevent or inhibit arrhythmic electrical activity. Continued research might also focus on targeting of upstream regulatory cascades of ion channel expression and function. Continued antiarrhythmic strategies might include the exploration of novel delivery systems (e.g., utilizing advances in nanotechnology and microelectronics), biological pacemakers, AV node repair/bypass, and treatment and/or reversal of disease-induced myocardial remodeling and tachyarrhythmias. Evaluation of new therapies should include a cost analysis. Studies in both children and adults with congenital heart are needed. New interventions might include new pharmacologic approaches as well as advances in electrophysiologic imaging and improved approaches to ablation.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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51 net votes
86 up votes
35 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Expediting Gene and Cell Therapies to the Clinics

What methodologies will best enhance the translation of technologies for gene and cell therapies into potential products for clinical application and commercial development? In considering a strategy for NHLBI investment in gene therapy, it is important to note that we are only at the beginning of a revolution that will eventually impact biomedical research across a broad range of specialties. NHLBI/NIH needs to create ...more »

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Technological advances in vector discovery over the last decade have set the stage for a wave of potential clinical successes in diseases relevant to NHLBI. These advances include the use of lentiviral vectors for bone marrow directed gene therapy with thalassemia emerging as an attractive target and with compelling clinical data with novel AAV serotypes in the treatment of hemophilia B, and possibly hemophilia A in the future.

 

Furthermore, an important milestone was achieved in November 2012 with the approval of the AAV-based product Glybera by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of a rare form of hypertriglyceridemia. This first and only commercially approved gene therapy product demonstrated regulatory receptivity for gene therapy which fueled a long overdue investment by the biopharmaceutical industry in gene therapy.

Finally, gene editing technologies such as CRISPR (clustered, regularly interspersed short palindromic repeats) are most suited for ex vivo approaches of gene therapy such as those based on engineered bone marrow stems cells for diseases like sickle cell anemia. These types of approaches could substantially reduce the risk of insertional mutagenesis that plagues lentiviral vectors and could improve expression profiles of the corrected cells by utilizing endogenous regulatory sequences.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

It is increasingly being recognized that establishing standardized assays for evaluating product potency and purity such as “pharmacologic” regulation will be critical for the success of gene therapy. NHLBI/NIH can also play a significant role in the development of second generation gene therapy technologies with enhanced safety and efficacy.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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66 net votes
97 up votes
31 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Exploring Future Cardiovascular Medicine: Heart Precursors Directed from Human Embryonic Stem Cells for Myocardium Regeneration

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major health problem and the leading cause of death in the Western world. Currently, there is no treatment option or compound drug of molecular entity that can change the prognosis of CVD.

Submitted by (@xuejunparsons)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The human stem cell is emerging as a new type of pharmacologic agent of cellular entity that is much more complex in structure, function, and activity than the conventional drug of molecular entity, which is usually comprised of simple chemicals or compounds. Since the etiologies of most diseases that involve both molecular and cellular processes are much more complex than simple chemicals or molecules, conventional chemical drugs are often severely limited by the molecular entity of the compound that usually targets or blocks certain pathological molecular pathways, which would otherwise be harmful to common molecular pathways shared in normal cellular processes of vital tissues and organs, thus, cause severe toxic side effects that may outweigh the benefits. For instance, a drug for weight loss may cause severe damage to the heart. In addition, the therapeutic effects of conventional drugs of molecular entity provide only temporary or short-term symptomatic relief but cannot change the prognosis of disease. As a result, millions of molecular leads generated in mainstream of biomedical research from animal studies and studies of other lower organisms have vanished before even reach clinical trials, or for a few lucky ones, in clinical trials. In the last few decades, despite of many animal leads, no drug of molecular entity has ever been approved by FDA as a new treatment for heart disease and failure for humans.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Opportunity: In contrast, the human stem cell has the potential for human tissue and function restoration that the conventional drug of molecular entity lacks. The ability of a human stem cell, by definition, to both self-renew and differentiation makes it a practically inexhaustible source of replacement cells for many devastating or fatal diseases that have been considered as incurable, such as neurodegenerative diseases and heart diseases. The pharmacologic activity of human stem cells is measured by their extraordinary cellular ability to regenerate the tissue or organ that has been damaged or lost, such as the heart in the case of human cardiac stem cells. Therefore, the pharmacologic utility of human stem cells cannot be satisfied only by their chaperone activity, if any, to produce trophic or protective molecules to rescue existing endogenous host cells that can simply be accomplished by a drug of molecular entity. The embryo-originated human embryonic stem cells (hESC) are not only pluripotent, but also incredibly stable and positive, proffering unique revenue to generate a large supply of cardiac lineage-committed stem/precursor/progenitor cells as well as functional cardiomyocytes as adequate human myocardial grafts for cell-based therapy. Currently, the hESC cardiomyocyte therapy derivatives provide the only available human cell sources with adequate capacity to regenerate the contractile heart muscles, vital for heart repair in the clinical setting.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Xuejun Parsons

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-19 net votes
9 up votes
28 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Reducing CV events in breast cancer survivors -knowledge gaps

Identifying breast cancer survivors at high risk for CV morbidity and mortality to allow targeting of management strategies to reduce CV events and thereby improve overall cancer-related survival.

Submitted by (@nhlbiforumadministrator)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

Chemotherapy for breast cancer stages I-III is known to be associated with or induce cardiotoxicity. Over 35% of these women develop progressive fatigue and exercise intolerance, and heart failure limiting their daily activities and frequently interfering with their ability to return to work. CV disease are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for those surviving beyond 5 to 8 years from their breast cancer diagnosis. The excess of CV morbidity and mortality in these patients threatens to offset reductions in cancer-related survival. Identifying breast cancer survivors at high risk for CV morbidity and mortality could allow targeting of cardiovascular disease reducing therapeutic interventions.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

creating a multisite registry of women with Stage 1-3 breast cancer scheduled to receive chemotherapy and a control population women of similar demographic and CV risk profile without neoplasia, would allow to collect data at baseline and during/after cancer treatment related modern therapy, pre/post treatment functional status, including fatigue, behavioral and psychosocial risk factors and quality of life, and serum biomarkers indicative of myocardial injury, fibrosis, and heart failure.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : NHLBI Staff

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-1 net votes
5 up votes
6 down votes
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Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Overcoming barriers to translational regenerative medicine

Current stem cell based approaches to translational medicine predominantly show modest efficacy. Most research rest on accepting existing limitations and focusing upon "tweaks" to the experimental model rather than taking on important barriers head on. The efficacy of stem cell-based regenerative medicine will never be fully realized unless we stop trying overly simplistic approaches such as"more is better" and start ...more »

Submitted by (@heartman4ever)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The field of regenerative medicine holds great potential but we risk losing the public trust by hyperbolic promises, modest efficacy, and incremental research steps. Truly innovative research will transform the landscape and offer truly novel therapeutic approaches to many current incurable conditions. The result is a dramatic shift in the practice of medicine, new options for treatment, enhanced engagement of the public in biomedical research and new growth opportunities for the NIH and biotech sectors.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

The future is here for regenerative medicine, but for the most part the potential and practice has been unrealized or poorly executed. The challenge is to identify the limiting factors and sweep them aside. There is broad and surprisingly consistent consensus on what the barriers are to successful regenerative therapy, but it seems most researchers are complacent and accept these limitations as inherent in the system rather than try to find truly combative approaches to overcome the barriers to enhancing regenerative processes. So it is essential to change the current mindset and push for a full frontal attack on the barriers that impede successful regeneration rather than minor modifications or uninspired brute force approaches that ignore the underlying mechanistic issues. Also, a major challenge is the hyperbole and overselling of research findings and impact by researchers and their institutions looking to capitalize upon the "discovery de jour." Such overly optimistic and unrealistic promises undermine our position in the public eye and compromise our future ability to earn the public trust.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : M Sussman

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-6 net votes
14 up votes
20 down votes
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Goal 2: Reduce Human Disease

Human Lung Progenitor Cells, Lung Epithelial Differentiated iPSCs, and Therapeutics

What are the biological properties and key surface markers of human lung progenitor cells and lung epithelial differentiated iPSCs? How can these cell populations be targeted for therapeutic purposes, including regenerative therapy?

Submitted by (@skrenrich)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

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2 net votes
6 up votes
4 down votes
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