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Approved Research

Improved biomarkers of cardiovascular disease

Principal Investigator: Dr Anders Gummesson
Approved Research ID: 82018
Approval date: March 18th 2022

Lay summary

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are a group of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. CVD generally develops without any symptoms at first and many people may be unaware they have it until a life-threatening event occurs, such as a heart attack or a stroke.

Several risk factors for CVD are well known such as smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. However, many CVD events occur in the large group of people who have few CVD risk factors. We therefore need better tools to diagnose CVD at an early stage, so that we can identify individuals in need of treatment before a life-threatening event occurs.

The aim of our research is to develop new and better ways to identify individuals at high risk of CVD. Our method is to search for CVD biomarkers (i.e. biological markers that can be measured to indicate a high risk of CVD) among the collected data in UK Biobank including physical examinations, medical imaging and analyses of blood samples. The best combination of biomarkers will then be selected and evaluated using advanced statistical methods. In addition, we will study if any of the biomarkers may be culprits in the disease process and hence potential drug targets.

CVD is today the most common death cause worldwide. If we were able to accurately identify individuals at high risk of CVD, preventive measures could be taken at an early stage and many lives could be saved. The research also aims to increase our understanding of the disease process and may thereby lead to more effective treatments.