Melchor Fernández Almagro, 3
Postal Code: 28029, Madrid, Spain
Phone: (+34) 91 4531200
Fax: (+34) 91 4531245
Felipe Pétriz, Secretary of State for Research, and Emilio Botín, President of the Santander Group, signed a milestone agreement on April 7, 2010 to launch the CNIC-Santander PESA study (Progression of Early Subclinical Atherosclerosis), which is aimed at advancing knowledge on the progression of cardiovascular disease. PESA will lead to improved strategies for the prevention of atherosclerotic diseases, the major cause of death worldwide, and also aims to identify risk factors and lifestyle habits that influence the development of these disorders, so that accurate diagnosis can be made before symptoms appear. The study is led by cardiologist Valentín Fuster, Heart Director at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and Director of the CNIC, which is an autonomous center within the Carlos III Health Institute, and a dependent organization of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
The study is being carried out through close collaboration between the Medical Services department at Banco Santander and researchers at the CNIC. The team has recruited 4000 Banco Santander employees to the study, which investigates cardiovascular parameters using the most advanced laboratory techniques, especially in the area of biological imaging, a priority area in the scientific community.
PESA CNIC-Santander forms part of a series of large international studies aimed at improving the diagnosis and prevention of disease. PESA is specifically linked to a study in the USA in people aged 60 and above. The aim of PESA is to determine the associations between cardiovascular risk factors (established and newly-identified) and the early progression of cardiovascular disease before the appearance of symptoms. For this reason the selected study population includes people between the ages of 40 and 54 years, an age range in which the disease has normally not manifested.
Cardiovascular (CV) diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, causing 1.9 million deaths a year in the European Union alone. In Spain, these diseases account for 35% of male deaths and 43% of female deaths.
The onset and progression of CV disease is determined by the presence of risk factors, the most prominent of which are smoking, elevated cholesterol, hypertension, sedentary life-style, overweight/obesity and diabetes. On the basis of these risk factors, physicians attempt to predict an individual’s risk of developing disease, in order prescribe appropriate life-style changes and prophylactic medication. However, with current tools, risk is not detected in a high proportion of patients until the consequences are irreversible. PESA will improve the detection of individuals who have already begun to develop the disease but who do not fall into the established risk categories and who do not show any symptoms.