No less than 40% of all deaths in Europe are caused by cardiovascular diseases. Small arteries play a key role here. Our body contains millions of these tiny vessels, thinner than a human hair. They control how much blood is transported to each and every corner of our body. Failure of these vessels causes hypertension and insufficient transport of oxygen to our tissues, contributing to cardiovascular mortality. Yet, treatment options targeting our small arteries are very limited. These vessels have literally been overlooked over the years, and scientific understanding of their dysfunction is lagging. There is much to gain here!
The SMARTER group consists of European academic institutes and enterprises who perform R&D in the field of small arteries. We aim to improve scientific understanding of the role of these blood vessels in cardiovascular disease, to pave the way for new therapeutic options, and to train young scientists in this field. SMARTER is financially supported by the Marie Curie programme of the European Commission. We started in November 2013 and will continue our research projects until January 2018. New research projects are planned for the period 2018-2021.