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Dr Amy Baxter, 2023 Vanguard Grant

Boosting dead cell removal to prevent atherosclerosis

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Boosting dead cell removal to prevent atherosclerosis

Dr Amy Baxter, La Trobe University

2023 Vanguard Grant - Two Year

Years funded: 2024 - 2025

Atherosclerotic plaques that block arteries can lead to life-threatening clinical events such as heart attack and stroke. The removal of dying cells by special cells called phagocytes is a critical process in the body that limits inflammation and promotes tissue repair. During atherosclerosis, dead cell removal is impaired and contributes to plaque growth, although there are currently no treatments that boost dead cell removal in plaques. Our team has recently found that increasing the way cells break apart or ‘fragment’ when they die enhances their ability to be removed by phagocytes. We developed a genetic mouse model of enhanced dying cell fragmentation and will use this to examine the impact of boosting dead cell removal on plaque growth during atherosclerosis. We will then test whether an FDA-approved drug that can promote dying cell fragmentation, can reduce plaques in models of atherosclerosis. This project could lead to the development of novel therapies for atherosclerosis patients.

Last updated12 March 2024