Through a unique collaboration with the University Medical Center Utrecht
DIS™ has access to a state-of-the-art biomarker discovery platform. This enables the company to identify and validate novel biomarkers predictive for cardiovascular diseases.
In 2002 the Department of Experimental Cardiology of the UMCU initiated together with the Vascular Surgery Departments of the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein and the UMCU the world's largest biobank of (atherosclerotic) vascular tissue (plaques) and blood samples taken from patients undergoing carotid or femoral artery surgery: the Athero-Express Biobank Study (AE). All patients undergoing surgery of the carotid or femoral arteries are asked to fill in an extensive questionnaire and sign an informed consent regarding the use of the tissue and blood samples for academic and commercial purposes.
The unique part of this biobank is that all patients undergo a follow-up of 3 years. This is quite a customary approach for blood-based epidemiological studies, but a longitudinal study on atherosclerotic vessel-wall tissue samples has never been executed before. This biobank provides insight into the natural history of atherosclerosis and has led to the discovery of plaque and plasma proteins strongly related with adverse clinical outcomes. Exploring these proteins will help to detect patients at risk for the development of stroke, heart attack or peripheral artery disease. In a recent paper
scientists involved in the Athero-Express demonstrated the power of locally expressed proteins to predict future systemic events.
- The Athero-Express Biobank Study (AE, www.atheroexpress.nl) is the largest vascular tissue and plasma biobank in the world with over 2,500 patients included
- Blood and plaque samples in combination with long term clinical follow up are an excellent source for biomarker discovery