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IPEK researchers receive Leducq funding for atherosclerosis research

An international consortium led by Prof. Andrés Hidalgo and involving Prof. Oliver Söhnlein, both working at the IPEK, has been awarded 6 million dollars from the French-American Leducq Foundation. The researchers are investigating the role of clonal proliferation of white blood cells in the development of atherosclerosis.

It has been very recently revealed that clonal hematopoiesis, the proliferation of individual white blood cells, is a significant genetic risk factor for atherosclerosis. In contrast, more traditional atherosclerosis risk factors such as nicotine consumption or unbalanced diet are acquired. The consortium, coordinated by Prof. Hidalgo and in which Prof. Söhnlein is involved, aims to find out how clonal hematopoiesis contributes to the development of atherosclerosis by investigating three gene mutations in genetically modified mice. Such gene mutations in animals - similar to humans - can modify various white blood cells such as monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils, but also platelets.

In addition, the researchers have access to patient cohorts and human plaque specimens. They will use single-cell analyses to investigate how mutations during clonal hematopoiesis change the inflammatory processes in plaque. The discovery of the mechanisms will provide the basis for new atherosclerosis therapies.

Funded Network: Clonal hematopoiesis and atherosclerosis

DZHK News Release