Published: 13-09-2013 00:00 | Updated: 15-02-2014 18:45

CMM in European atherosclerosis therapy initiative

Two research groups based at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) receive 8 million SEK within a new EU funded initiative for research in cardiovascular disease, which is coordinated from the University of Oxford in the UK. The two CMM groups are supervised by Göran K Hansson and Stephen Malin, both at the Department of Medicine, Solna, Karolinska Institutet.

The aim of this international effort is to find alternative treatments against cardiovascular disease, rather than the statin therapy commonly employed today. The two EU projects, called Athero-Flux and Athero-B-Cell, will have a joint project-platform and together they involve 12 academic institutions and 6 companies from 11 countries. The total funding from the EU amounts to approximately 104 million SEK, of which 8 million is granted to Karolinska Institutet and the CMM.

Although lipid lowering statin treatment has significantly reduced cardiovascular disease mortality in Europe, there is still a substantial risk of heart attacks and other complications for treated individuals which will require new therapies. In the Athero-Flux-project researchers will target so called sphingolipids, which are fatty acids found in cell membranes with important cell signaling properties. The Athero-B-Cell project intends to identify how B-lymphocytes modulate atherosclerosis. The link between metabolic and inflammatory disease is growing, and it has previously been demonstrated that cardiovascular disease is associated with different B cell responses.

The CMM was established by Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm County Council and is a leading research center in Swedish medicine. The two current EU projects will be funded through the Seventh Framework Programmes area for health research, FP7 Health.