Published: 28-12-2012 00:00 | Updated: 13-02-2014 15:09

Multi-million donation to cardiovascular research at Karolinska Institutet

The Erling-Persson Family Foundation is donating SEK 27.7 million towards an MR scanner for cardiovascular research at Karolinska Institutet. The gift will fund the establishment of a research environment devoted to finding new avenues for diagnosing and treating cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for 40 per cent of all deaths in Sweden, making it the single largest public health problem in the country. Improved diagnostic and treatment methods will give enormous social gains.

MRI is an advanced complement to echocardiography and computer tomography. Rapid developments in the technique are opening up new opportunities for identifying and therefore treating cardiovascular disease. Areas in which MR diagnostics can prove particularly valuable include atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, heart failure, myocarditis, cardiac arrhythmia, congenital heart defects and diabetes-related cardiovascular disease.

"Our aim is to be a leading MRI facility in the cardiovascular field for both clinical and research purposes," says Professor Lars Rydén at Karolinska Institutet, one of the members of the group awarded the grant. "Acquiring a scanner means that we'll have an invaluable tool for discovering new cardiovascular treatments more quickly."

At present, the researchers use off-premises MR scanners intended mainly for regular hospital use. Research opportunities are thus limited and have to compete with clinical diagnosis, which is already under pressure from tight scanner schedules. The donation will therefore benefit not only research but also other categories of patient, whose scans will be subject to a shorter delay.

"Having an MR scanner for cardiovascular research also makes these scans much cheaper, which means that our existing grants will stretch to more and new scientific activity," says Professor Rydén.

"The MR scanner will make a significant contribution to the research being done into cardiovascular diseases at Karolinska Institutet," says KI president, Professor Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson. "It is therefore with much gratitude that we accept this donation."