The LIH is not only a privileged research partner in Luxembourg, but also worldwide as a lead institution in large-scale collaborative initiatives. One of the most recent examples is the EU-CardioRNA COST Action CA17129 (EU-CardioRNA – www.cardiorna.eu), which aims to understand the complex role of transcriptomics in cardiovascular disease.
Founded at the end of 2018, the EU-CardioRNA network just celebrated its second anniversary. It includes 180 members from 36 European and partner countries. The collaborative network brings together academic researchers, clinicians, and industrial partners with multidisciplinary expertise ranging from basic research to clinical research and molecular diagnostics, from pharmacology to molecular biology and many other aspects of biology, from information technology to bioinformatics, biostatistics, and artificial intelligence.
CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE REMAINS A MAJOR CAUSE OF MORTALITY
The participating researchers are following the principles of translational medicine, which aims to use interdisciplinary activities to translate preclinical research into clinical development quickly and efficiently. This is essential in view of the worldwide spread of cardiovascular disease, as Dr. Yvan Devaux, Head of Cardiovascular Research Unit, LIH, and Chair of EU-CardioRNA COST Action, underlines: “Cardiovascular disease remains a major cause of mortality and disability in the modern world. Further translational research is needed to identify novel therapeutic targets and biomarkers to optimise healthcare and decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease.”
POTENTIAL OF RNA MOLECULES IN DIAGNOSING AND TREATING PATIENTS
Transcriptomics are the techniques used to study an organism’s transcriptome, the sum of all of its RNA transcripts. While nearly 98% of human genes are transcribed into RNA molecules, very few (<3%) are able to encode proteins. Yvan Devaux: “Proteins have traditionally been at the centre of most research projects, whereas RNAs have received less attention. Yet, RNA molecules have the potential to aid in diagnosing, prognosticating, and treating patients with cardiovascular disease, in a personalised and sex-specific manner.”
The EU-CardioRNA COST Action is financed by COST association (Cooperation in Science and Technology), itself financed by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Yvan Devaux’s leadership and coordinating role in the Action is financed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Fondation Coeur – Daniel Wagner.