Texas biomedical firm wins nearly $20M for cardiovascular research

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The Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) in San Antonio has received $18.8 million grant to engage in several new studies on cardiovascular disease.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding the grant, “Diet and Genotype in Primate Atherosclerosis,” which consists of four components:

  • Determining how cells in the lining of arteries, particularly endothelial cells, vary in their response to disease-causing stimulants such as LDL cholesterol. They will also search for genes that regulate the cellular responses to identify ways to decrease a person’s risk factors to heart disease;
  • Searching for genetic variations among individuals in the body’s production and circulating levels of endothelial progenitor cells. Scientists hope to find ways to increase the body’s ability to produce them to prevent heart attacks and help repair damage to the heart and arteries;
  • Examining whether diet influences the body’s production and circulating levels of endothelial stem cells, including the impact of high-fat, high-cholesterol diets; and
  • Searching search for networks of genes that influence physiological risk factors, such as LDL cholesterol and obesity, instead of searching for one disease influencing gene at a time. SFBR will employ its AT &T Genomics Computing Center to map out the genes.

“Some of the new projects we’re undertaking are so innovative and rely so heavily upon the unique resources and expertise of our facility… We expect the payoff to be a tremendous advancement in our ability to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease, our nation’s No. 1 killer,” said the grant’s principal investigator John L. VandeBerg, chief scientific officer of the SFBR.