The European Union has allocated nearly €15 million to a research programme on new approaches to gene therapy for the treatment of heart diseases. To this end, the best methods for gene transfer to the heart will be sought. The project will include a clinical study of the most promising gene therapy approaches. The World Health Organisation estimates that 17.7 million people die each year from cardiovascular disease, an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide.
Professor Chuah: "This is a very exciting and important opportunity for this research consortium to find new ways to manage and treat heart disease. In Europe it is the biggest cause of death for people and any reduction in this mortality rate would be a very positive result for our European cooperation.
The research program, called CardioReGenix, is coordinated by Professor Marinee Chuah of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Thirteen institutions from six countries participate, including five companies. This five-year project was selected after a tough international competition.
The consortium includes a number of key players, including the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), the University of East Finland (Finland), A2F-Associates Limited (UK), Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (Germany), King's College London (UK) University of Edinburgh (UK), Stichting VUMC (Netherlands), Batavia Bioscience BV (Netherlands), Finvector OY (Finland), Cardior Pharmaceuticals GmbH (Germany), Asphalion SL (Spain), Phosjois-Savon Sairaanhoitopiirin (Finland) and Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel (Germany).
Professor Marinee Chuah
Free University of Brussels (VUB)
Deputy Head of the Department of Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine
Faculty of Medicine & Pharmacy