B cells in Cardiovascular Disease

European Coordinator:
  • Christoph BINDER, Medical University of Vienna (Austria)
North American Coordinator:
  • Filip SWIRSKI, Massachusetts General Hospital (USA)
Members:
  • Stephen MALIN, Karolinska Institutet (Sweden)
  • Ziad MALLAT, The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Coleen MCNAMARA, The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (USA)
  • Shiv PILLAI, Massachusetts General Hospital (USA)

Heart attacks and strokes are the most common consequences of atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease affecting arteries. Atherosclerosis develops when cholesterol accumulates as plaque in the vessel wall, where it  triggers an inflammatory response. Recent clinical studies have shown that, in addition to lowering blood cholesterol levels, certain drugs that block inflammation can also help prevent atherosclerosis. However, these drugs have broad anti-inflammatory effects and are also associated with increased susceptibility to infections. Therefore, there is a great need to identify more specific drug targets that lack these side effects. B lymphocytes, a subset of white blood cells that are important to the immune response and the production of antibodies, are highly promising in this regard. The B cells in cardiovascular disease consortium (BCVD) will characterize these cells and their functions in human atherosclerosis and test the mechanisms by which they  can help to hinder disease in preclinical models. Based on these insights, the BCVD will develop novel innovative interventions that can ultimately be used as more precise anti-inflammatory therapies for the prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.