Press releases

DZHK researchers receive Leducq funding


Prof. Dr. Jeanette Erdmann

Prof. Dr. Michael Joner

Prof. Dr. Heribert Schunkert


Jeanette Erdmann (DZHK partner site Hamburg/Kiel/Lübeck), Michael Joner and Heribert Schunkert (both DZHK partner site Munich) are members of a consortium which is supported by the French-American Leducq Foundation with six million dollars.

Atherosclerotic plaques grow up in blood vessels over years - in which they are then referred to as vascular calcification. When the plaques reach a certain size, they sometimes burst open. This results in blood clots that can completely close blood vessels. Depending on which vessel is closed, this can lead to a heart attack, a stroke or pulmonary embolism.

Consortium researchers assume that the smooth vascular muscles lining the blood vessels influence the properties of atherosclerotic plaques. There seem to be genetic factors, especially for the tendency to burst plaques. The researchers want to identify these factors and investigate their mechanism of action. Genetic data from patient cohorts and biosamples of human plaques are available for this purpose. As a result, new therapies are to be developed that can stabilize the plaques and thus prevent the life-threatening bursting. Initial approaches to this are to be investigated in clinical pilot studies.

Funded Network: Defining the Roles of Smooth Muscle Cells and Other Extracellular Matrix Producing Cells in Late Stage Atherosclerotic Plaque Pathogenesis

Further information: https://www.plaqomics.com/

Contact: Christine Vollgraf, Public Relations Officer, German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), phone: +49 30 3456 529 02, presse(at)dzhk.de