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Targeting Tet2 as a therapy for vascular calcification

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute & University of New South Wales

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Organ System:
  • Cardiovascular
Date Funded:
  • 22 May, 2020
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Renjing Liu

Project summary

Identifying new genes that cause vascular calcification for earlier initiation of life-saving therapies.

What is the issue for NSW?

Vascular calcification is the pathological hardening of blood vessels. The presence of calcium minerals in blood vessels compromises vessel elasticity, leading to vessel stiffness, rupture, and premature death. It is a frequent and deadly complication of many cardiovascular disorders including coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis, and is significantly exacerbated with ageing, and in individuals with diabetes mellitus and chronic kidney diseases.

The change in the function of vascular smooth muscle cells, the main cell type found in blood vessel walls, from the contractile state to a bone-forming cell type, is a key initiating cause of vessel calcification. The main Aim of this Research Grant is to develop new methods to revert calcified vascular smooth muscle cells back to their physiological cellular state.

What does the research aim to do and how?

Through this research the team will:

  1. uncover novel genes and pathways that are involved in vascular calcification, and
  2. identify clinically approved compounds that may be repurposed as novel treatments to reduce/reverse vascular calcification.

Through clinical collaborators and the availability of a large repertoire of human samples, the teams’ data may lead to better recognition of at-risk individuals, and lead to earlier initiation of life-saving therapies. The project brings together researchers, clinicians, surgeons, and pathologists from Australia, China and USA with expertise in vascular biology, epigenetics, human genetics, and bioinformatics.