Stroke kills about 5 million people annually and is also the leading cause of disability and dementia in adults. Early recognition of individuals at risk for stroke would significantly alleviate the heavy social and economical burdens due to stroke. Advances in identification of vulnerable individuals require development of entirely new strategies. Stroke is triggered by thrombosis occurring after rupture of atherosclerotic plaques, and MOLSTROKE focuses on identifying pathogenetic molecular mechanisms and vascular protagonists defining vulnerable plaques and contributing to plaque rupture. MOLSTROKE assembles 7 partners with multidisciplinary backgrounds and exploits innovative technological approaches together with testing of novel pathogenetic hypotheses. The priority research areas of MOLSTROKE comprise 1) concomitant wide genomic and histoproteomic screening of lesional vascular tissue to identify novel pathogenetic markers, 2) Early inflammatory events, which are the key to atherosclerosis progression and hence primary prevention, and 3) atherosclerotic plaque instability, which leads to the acute clinical thrombotic events. The proposed investigations will implement novel technologies of differential display of unknown genes, vascular tissue arrays and bioinformatic integration of collected clinical and experimental data. Thus, weighted identification of stroke denominators can be accomplished and thereby lead to improved diagnostic and treatment modalities. The research armoury spans genomics, tissue arrays, molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, biochemistry, gene transfer, animal models and integrative bioinformatic software tools. MOLSTROKE will maximize the scientific, educational and commercial potential of the proposal by electronic data-sharing, communication networks, shared research tools, and training programmes.
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