Atherosclerosis is a vascular disease arising from an abnormal thickening and hardening of the arteries. It is caused by the deposit of cholesterol and other fatty substances on the inner lining of blood vessels, especially those in the heart. The incidence of atherosclerosis has increased dramatically in the last several decades, due to changes in dietary habits and lifestyle. It has become one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke related death in Canada. At present, the factors leading to the development of atherosclerosis remain unclear. The mission of the Centre of Research & Treatment of Atherosclerosis is to carry out research in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, and to bridge research with patient care by bringing the latest findings from the bench side to the bedside. A further mission is to study the molecular mechanisms involved in the basic biology of human lipid diseases. The Centre also provides a stimulating environment for interaction between established and junior faculty members as well as research trainees.
The Centre for Research and Treatment of Atherosclerosis has a fully equipped core laboratory run by a research technician devoted to the study of the pathogenesis and prevention of atherosclerosis and related lipid disorders. In conjunction with the Lipid Clinic at the Health Sciences Center, the Centre for Research and Treatment of Atherosclerosis participates in direct patient care.
The Centre will focus on enhancing the current study on the biology of low density lipoproteins (LDL) by examining how some drugs may reduce the formation of atherosclerosis by the oxidized form of LDL, and study risk factors that may cause atherosclerosis, and to test whether various dietary and drug treatments are effective in countering these risk factors. In addition, the center will focus on the basic biology of various lipid diseases.
In addition to the research technician, the research and clinical work of the Centre draws upon the existing strength of the Lipid, Lipoprotein and Atherosclerosis Research Group (Lipid Research Group) at the University of Manitoba. The Group is chaired by Dr. G.M. Hatch and consists of biochemists, physiologists, pharmacologists, clinical chemists and physicians who are holding academic appointments in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. The Group was formed in 1992 and has been formally recognized as an established research group by the Faculty of Medicine since 1996. It is also recognized by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Regional Partnership Program at the University of Manitoba as an established research group and members of the group are eligible to submit their grant applications under the partnership program.
The current research activity of the Group is focused on the biology of oxidized LDL (metabolism of "bad cholesterol") as a factor for the pathogenesis (origin and development) of atherosclerosis. The Group, in conjunction with Dr. D. Mymin, Director of the Lipid Clinic, is carrying out clinical studies on new drugs for the prevention of atherosclerosis. In addition, the group is focused on the basic biology of several other lipid-related diseases. The Group organizes public forums and cardiovascular disease related Risk Factor Clinics for the public.
The Centre offers research trainees with a multi-disciplinary approach to study the pathogenesis and prevention of atherosclerosis and all other aspects of lipid biology. In the last five years, members of the Lipid, Lipoprotein and Atherosclerosis Research Group have trained more than 20 graduate students and several postdoctoral fellows. The Centre offers clinical residents and fellows in the cardiovascular field with a unique opportunity to do both clinical and basic research. The Center coordinates a yearly “CRTA Seminar Series” for Clinicians and Basic Scientists as well as Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows, Clinical Residents and Fellows. In the past five years 25 world leaders in lipid biology have participated in the CRTA Seminar Series.