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Focus on EAS Innsbruck 2016: Introducing the faculty - Plenary speaker Peter Carmeliet

Monday 21 December 2015   (0 Comments)
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A forward-looking scientific Programme to excite, inspire and inform!

The EAS 2016 Scientific Committee has created a programme featuring ground-breaking speakers in their respective fields. EAS 2016 Innsbruck welcomes a distinguished international faculty to share their forward-looking perspectives on the latest developments in basic research and clinical practice in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. You can find details of the Plenary and Workshop sessions now on the Congress website,

Abstract submission is now open. Submit your abstract by January 11, 2016 for the opportunity to present your findings at this prestigious international Congress.

Here, in a series of newsletters, we introduce members of the EAS 2016 Innsbruck faculty.

Plenary session 2, Tuesday, May 31, 2016: Lipid biology, new insights

Peter Carmeliet, Belgium: Angiogenesis and endothelial cell dysfunction in atherosclerosis: a novel target for treatment

Peter Carmeliet is the Director of the Vesalius Research Center, Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), University of Leuven, Belgium. His research interests are vasculogenesis, angiogenesis, and vascular endothelial growth factors.  His research group has sought to elucidate the molecular basis of angiogenesis with the aim of translating their findings to therapeutic concepts and ultimately novel treatments. Latest findings indicate that the efficacy of current anti-angiogenic therapy in cancer is limited by intrinsic refractoriness and acquired drug resistance. To overcome this problem, his research team pioneered the study of endothelial cell metabolism during vessel sprouting.  Dr. Carmeliet is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Blaise Pascal Medal in Medicine and Life Sciences by the European Academy of Sciences (2011), the Münster Heart Center Award (2015), and award of the Noble title of Baron, granted by King Filip of Belgium (2015).

The endothelium plays a key role in regulating blood vessels, influencing angiogenesis as well as physiological function. Changes in both are defining features of various diseases. While angiogenic growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor have been a focus, accumulating evidence also implicates metabolism as a co-determinant of endothelial cell (EC) responses. It is thought that maladaptation of EC metabolism results in pathological angiogenesis (as in cancer) or dysfunction (as in diabetes). Furthermore, many of EC metabolic alterations that lead to EC dysfunction are likely induced by cardiovascular risk factors such as such as hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes and obesity.

As a consequence of these findings, targeting EC metabolism is emerging as a novel therapeutic strategy. Two approaches have been used: reverse and forward profiling. While the former is hypothesis-driven, the “forward” strategy is hypothesis-generating, enabling the possibility of identifying novel therapeutic targets in metabolic pathways that are generally not considered to be important in vascular disease. For example, increased EC glucose metabolism is emerging as a key feature of angiogenic and hyper-proliferative ECs, with initial studies showing that targeting EC glucose metabolism attenuates pathological angiogenesis.  Ultimately, profiling of EC metabolism may offer insights as to which pathways are affected in cardiovascular disease, with the ultimate aim of identifying new targets for pharmacological intervention.


Schoors S, Bruning U, Missiaen R, Queiroz KC, Borgers G, Elia I, Zecchin A, Cantelmo AR, Christen S, Goveia J, Heggermont W, Goddé L, Vinckier S, Van Veldhoven PP, Eelen G, Schoonjans L, Gerhardt H, Dewerchin M, Baes M, De Bock K, Ghesquière B, Lunt SY, Fendt SM, Carmeliet P. Fatty acid carbon is essential for dNTP synthesis in endothelial cells. Nature 2015;520:192-7.

Eelen G, de Zeeuw P, Simons M, Carmeliet P. Endothelial cell metabolism in normal and diseased vasculature. Circ Res 2015;116:1231-44.

Cantelmo AR, Brajic A, Carmeliet P. Endothelial metabolism driving angiogenesis: emerging concepts and principles. Cancer J 2015;21:244-9.

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