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NHLBI Looking for Partners to Build Cardiovascular Biomarker Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute today said it is seeking partners to work with its Framingham Heart Study to create a biomarker consortium that will research markers associated with cardiovascular disease.
The initiative, which aims to develop new diagnostics that can identify high-risk individuals, will also focus on CVD-related risk factors such as atherosclerosis, obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and metabolic syndrome.
In the project, the NHLBI will use information from 7,000 FHS subjects whose CVD risk factors are already known in order to study 150 or more “evolving or novel” biomarkers found in serum, plasma, and urine.
In a statement, the NHLBI laid out two major aims for the biomarker consortium:
First, it hopes to “identify the biochemical signature” of atherosclerosis by looking at aortic and coronary calcification, aortic plaque burden, carotid intimal-medial thickness, clinical atherosclerotic CVD, and the balance between calcification of the arteries and bone demineralization.   
The second aim is to identify the biochemical signature of metabolic syndrome by studying blood pressure, obesity, visceral adiposity, dyslipidemia, impaired fasting glucose, diabetes, and insulin resistance.
The NHLBI said it will choose the biomarkers for the study by reviewing biomarkers of atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome, and by studying genes linked to the two syndromes and those showing links with “phenotypes of interest.”
During the study, the NHLBI said, new quantitative tests will be developed that can measure circulating biomarker levels by using antibody sandwich assays and proteomic approaches that work with high-throughput applications.
The study will focus on pathways including: adhesion/chemoattraction; adipokines; cytokines; growth factors; heart shock proteins; inflammation; lipoproteins; neurohormones; thrombosis/fibrinolysis, and vascular calcification.   
Before FHS specimens can be used, the NHLBI said, research partners must demonstrate “rigorous assay validation” using non-FHS samples.
The NHBLI said inquiries and letters of interest must be received by Jan. 19, 2007. General queries can be sent to Lily Portilla at [email protected]
. Scientific queries should be sent to Daniel Levy at [email protected].

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