Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) - a grouping of diseases that affects the structure and/or function of the heart and blood vessels, including heart disease and stroke - is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.1 million lives each year. In Europe, CVD is responsible for the death of over 4.3 million people per year in the 53 member states of the WHO European Region and more than 2 million in the EU. Recent data indicates that up to 80% of all healthcare expenditure in Europe is allocated to chronic diseases, with cardiovascular diseases alone being estimated to cost the EU economy over 192 billion euro every year.
The burden of CVD for the EU society and economy, as well as the aspirations for an Innovation Union guaranteeing improved lives and a better society for EU citizens, represents an obvious call for the discovery and deployment of innovative medical technology solutions. CVD research has also the potential of tapping into new social innovations to induce the behavioural changes which are needed to tackle the identified major societal challenge of an ageing population, both in terms of preventive measures and in providing optimal care.
CVD research is not only a crucial area in health research overall, but could become an outstanding example of research driven innovation across Europe, which, through better understanding of the causes of CVD, the development of new medicinal products and the improvement in medical technology, will boost scientific excellence and create new knowledge as drivers of future growth and prosperity.
To achieve this research potential we need to better understand the existing CVD research landscape, engage with different actors from academia and industry to shape more effective research strategies, ultimately leading to better technological, therapeutic and preventive strategies for patients and populations.
CardioScape will promote the concept of transnational collaborative projects as the cornerstone to more effective and efficient research and development strategies.