Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Proposal to step up cardio-vascular disease research
Article Type: Food facts From: Nutrition
An ambitious European collaboration proposes to set up a new institute to focus funding, coordinate projects, and nurture the requisite skills for accelerating research into cardiovascular disease, the cause of between 30 and 50 per cent of the continent's deaths, depending on the country. The European Vascular Biology Institute (EVBI) is being presented at the annual EuroBioForum conference in Lisbon in December 2007 with a specific brief to convert research into concrete therapies more effectively. EuroBioForum is the annual conference of EuroBioFund, which was established in 2006 to bring together public and private sources of funding to catalyse the development of large scale pan-European life science research programmes. EVBI is one of several major themes being presented at EuroBioForum this year. The EVBI aims to make another dramatic advance in the fight against cardiovascular disease. Although great progress has been made in recent decades with drugs such as angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors that reduce blood pressure and statins that reduce cholesterol levels, more sophisticated therapies acting directly at the molecular level are needed to take a further major step forward. The aim is to develop a new generation of drugs that are highly specific in their action.
The EVBI will focus strongly on atherosclerosis, according to one of the institute's main proposers Alain Tedgui, because this is the underlying cause of 80 per cent of all cardiovascular related deaths including myocardial infarction (heart attacks) and strokes, as well as other conditions such as tissue death and organ failure. It occurs to varying degrees in all humans, being a chronic inflammatory disease of the arteries in which atherosclerotic plaques develop, leading ultimately to a variety of complications including blood clotting and loss of blood supply to organs. The EVBI aims both to block progress of atherosclerosis through drug therapies and vaccination, and also to tackle the related diseases, for example via stem cell based therapies to repair the heart after myocardial infarction.