Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

CVDIMMUNE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 37227
Funded under: FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH
Country: Sweden

Early diagnosis for cardiovascular disease

EU research has developed a kit to detect autoantibodies implicated in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Not only will this lead to the identification of risk factors for CVD but appropriate therapies can be applied at an early stage.
Early diagnosis for cardiovascular disease
Atherosclerosis is the major cause of CVD and is an inflammatory disease where the immune system plays an important role. A European project, 'Immunomodulation and autoimmunity in cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis' (CVDIMMUNE), aimed to harness and utilise normally harmful autoantibodies that target the patient's own proteins.

By developing tests to detect autoantibodies, subsequent manipulation of their production can be protective. Not only that but some of these destructive elements of the immune system can be used as risk markers for CVD.

CVDIMMUNE targeted two main autoantibodies – anti-phosphorylcholine (anti-PC) and anti-platelet activating factor (anti-PAF). Anti-PC is a protection factor active against atherosclerosis and CVD and can also be used as a diagnostic tool. Anti-PAF is a risk marker for arterial and vein thrombosis. After testing in several independent, extensive patient groups, the novel risk markers were included as a basis for robust diagnostic kits.

Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology was used to develop the kit for anti-PC and has results indicating that low levels of anti-PC are associated with increased risk of CVD. The Cvdimmune project also collected convincing data from both in vitro and in vivo studies that anti-PC has anti-atherosclerotic effects.

Each year, CVD causes over half the deaths in Europe, in total 4.3 million mortalities. Couple with this the disease burden and it is obvious that CVD exacts a very high toll of suffering as well as a high economic cost to health authorities. A reasonably priced, easy-to-use kit for diagnosis and risk of developing the disease is a major addition to the use of lipid-lowering drugs. The markers can also be used as a complement to classical risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and smoking.

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