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EC Awards $8.3M for Study of Cardiovascular Disease

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A consortium of researchers across Europe has been awarded a four-year, €6 million ($8.3 million) grant to conduct a proteomics study aimed at cardiovascular disease.

The funding, awarded through the Seventh Framework Protocol (FP7) of the European Commission, will go toward research to identify protein biomarkers that could be early indicators of incipient CVD. Ultimately, the research may lead to a personalized medicine approach to treating the disease, according to the University of Glasgow, which was awarded £557,000 ($923,000) as part of the grant.

As part of the study — titled "Systems Biology to Identify Molecular Targets for Vascular Disease Treatment" (SysVasc) — 30 researchers from 10 countries will interrogate thousands of samples and datasets. Burkert Pieske, a professor at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, is coordinating the research, which aims to shed light on "early vascular disease pathophysiology," according to a description of the project on the EC's FP7 website.

SysVasc, it said, will mount "a comprehensive systems medicine approach to elucidate pathological mechanisms, which will yield molecular targets for therapeutic intervention."

The project will leverage expertise in preclinical and clinical research, omics technologies, and systems biology to "identify pathophysiological mechanisms and key molecules responsible for onset and progression of CVD and validate their potential to serve as molecular targets for therapeutic intervention."

Additionally, the consortium will assess molecular homology between animal model systems and human disease, leading to preclinical research tools, which will be used for proof-of-concept therapeutic intervention studies, and ultimately new therapeutic approaches, the EC said.

"At present, drug-based interventions are based on risk-factor control, for example, through reducing existing high blood pressure or using statins to reduce blood cholesterol levels," Christian Delles, from the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow, said in a statement. "However, if we can identify early signs or biomarkers of the disease before symptoms arise, we have the opportunity to develop interventions to stop disease before it becomes a problem