Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have received an additional 1.4 million Euro from business magnate Fredrik Lundberg for research into bicuspid aortic valve and its links to aneurysm.
Bicuspid aortic value (BAV) is a congenital deformity of the aortic valve that leaves the valve between the left ventricle and the aorta with only two cusps or leaflets instead of the normal three. The condition affects two per cent of the population, and of the 200,000 Swedes who are affected, half are expected to need surgery during their lifetime.
The research project, which has been running since 2006 with support from Fredrik Lundberg, was set up to examine the underlying mechanisms behind BAV and why it increases the risk of aneurysm.
“We want to find out why some people have a bicuspid aortal valve, and which of them run the risk of suffering an aneurysm,” says Professor Anders Franco-Cereceda of the Thorax Surgery and Thorax Anaesthesiology division, who is leading the study with Professor Per Eriksson at Karolinska Institutet’s Centre for Molecular Medicine. “Our aim is to understand the mechanisms behind this and to find biomarkers to prevent the aneurysm forming. If we do this, we’ll be able to produce better treatment strategies for our patients.”
Business magnate Fredrik Lundberg has now made another private donation of 1.4 million Euro to the project. Through his investment company L E Lundbergföretagen, Mr Lundberg is a major shareholder of several large companies, including Holmen, Hufvudstaden, Cardo and Industrivärden. He is also a member of the Academy of the Engineering Sciences (1979 – present). Over the past six years, he has donated a total of 3.4 million Euro to the project.
“Fredrik Lundberg’s donation is crucial to our research, and the study has already generated unique knowledge,” says Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, president of Karolinska Institutet. “Fredrik Lundberg has a personal commitment to the project and his continuing support demonstrates the extent of his confidence in us.”
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Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. It accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.