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Preventing cardiovascular disease through early detection

Project data

Grant amount
DKK 174 million

Globally, cardiovascular diseases due to atherosclerosis – the build-up of plaque in arteries – are the leading cause of death. The Novo Nordisk Foundation is funding a research initiative called REACT that aims to develop methods to detect atherosclerosis at earlier ages and prevent it developing further. 

REACT is a collaboration between Danish hospitals and the Spanish National Centre for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC). The project is led by Dr. Henning Bundgaard, Chief Physician and Professor at the Department of Cardiology at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, with Dr. Borja Ibáñez, Scientific Director of CNIC and cardiologist at Fundación Jiménez Díaz hospital in Madrid leading the Spanish part of the initiative. 

In the first phase, which lasts 2.5 years, researchers aim to establish the prevalence of atherosclerosis in various sites in the body and to identify optimal methods for detection of atherosclerosis – and its risk factors – from an early age and at early stages, with the ultimate goal to enable prevention early in this ‘silent’ phase.  

A total of 16,000 individuals — 8,000 from each country — aged 20-70 will be included in the first phase. The program includes imaging of arteries in the neck and groin and of the coronary arteries, as well as genetic analysis and blood tests.   

Depending on the results of the first phase of REACT, the next step – phase 2 – is to expand the collaboration and to investigate if treatment of early-detected atherosclerosis is effective. This part of the project would last 5.5 years. 

Read more here.