Brussels, 07 Sep 2004
Scientists from Italy, Germany and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) are to join forces with colleagues in the US as part of a five million euro investigation into the ability of heart muscle to repair itself and regain function following, for example, a heart attack.
The six strong team of scientists, who have all previously made important discoveries in the field of cardiac self-repair, will apply their collective expertise to the development and study of human cells with an enhanced potential for cardiac regeneration.
One of the team members, Professor Nadia Rosenthal, head of EMBL-Monterotondo in Italy, has previously demonstrated that when a muscle is injured, stem cells can help the tissue rebuild. Other areas of expertise covered by the team, which gathers researchers from San Raffaele Biomedical Park in Rome, Italy, the Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, US, include the use of multipotent and progenitor cells for cardiac repair as well as cardiac gene expression.
Professor Rosenthal expects the team to make major advances during the five-year collaboration. 'We've been given a unique opportunity to share the expertise, facilities, models and knowledge of this superb group of scientists,' she said. And while many of those involved in the project have already been working in pairs, Professor Rosenthal argues that 'as a team we will be able to move much faster towards applying our collective understanding of adult progenitor cell biology to effective human cardiac repair.'
The five million euro funding for the project has been provided by the Fondation Leducq, a non-profit organisation committed to improving health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease. The Foundation's Transatlantic Network of Excellence is specifically intended to bridge the gap in cardiovascular research between Europe and the United States.
For further information on the Fondation Leducq, please consult the following web address: