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17/01/2017 - General information

Project ESCAPE-NET kicks off

Sixteen groups of European scientists work together to improve sudden cardiac arrest prevention and treatment

The kick-off meeting of the project ESCAPE-NET (European Sudden Cardiac Arrest network: towards Prevention, Education and New Treatment) will be held from 17-19 January, in Amsterdam. This project falls under the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme, in the area of personalised medicine and within the sudden cardiac arrest field.

The project is being coordinated by the Academisch Medisch Centrum at the University of Amsterdam and involves a total of 16 scientific teams from all over Europe. These include the Systems Pharmacology Research group from the Biomedical Informatics programme at the IMIM and UPF, coordinated by Dr Jordi Mestres. This group will contribute its experience and expertise in the field of predicting the mechanism of action and safety of drugs and will help develop a personalised risk score for sudden cardiac arrest based on the individual analysis of chemical and biological markers associated with cardiac arrhythmia. Sudden cardiac arrest is responsible for 20% of deaths in Europe; currently survival rates are only between 5 and 20%, so there is a pressing need to improve both prevention and treatment. So far, efforts towards this have been hampered by a lack of large patient cohorts with detailed information on the disease.

ESCAPE-NET brings together scientific teams that have created large populational cohorts, dedicated to research into sudden cardiac arrest, in order to exploit all the available data and improve the management of the disease, as far as possible. To achieve this, a single, continually expanding database of more than 100,000 DNA samples will be constructed, which will include around 20,000 samples from patients who have suffered sudden cardiac arrest. Combining existing European databases and infrastructures will allow risk factors (inherited, acquired, and environmental) and first response treatment strategies to be identified that could explain the differences in disease incidence and survival between countries. In cooperation with professional networks such as the European Heart Rhythm Association and the European Resuscitation Council, work will be done to translate the results into positive changes in clinical practice and health policies in Europe, to help patients at risk of sudden death.

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