The HERACLES Network’s human artery biobank (Colección de Muestras Arteriales Humanas, or COLMAH-HERACLES) contributes to the development of research projects that analyze the impact of possible biomarkers and risk factors in the gene expression profile in vascular tissues, as well as the role of specific genes in those tissues and correlations with the evolution of diseases or responses to treatment.
HERACLES Programme researchers have access to samples for gene expression studies, which enable the establishment of correlations between the presence and distribution of various genes and vascular morphometry, disease progression, or response to treatment. Functional studies are also supported to expand knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in cardiovascular diseases by studying their impact on the collected vascular tissues.
Considering that the objectives of future studies may require large sample sizes, the members of the HERACLES Programme decided to begin this collection of arterial samples, currently gathered from two Barcelona hospitals: Hospital del Mar (principal investigator: Oscar Bielsa, RD06/0009/0000 URLEC-IMIM) and Hospital Clínic (principal investigator: Magdalena Heras, RD06/0009/0008 CARDIO-IDIBAPS). There is a plan to engage other clinical centers to guarantee that in coming years a sufficient number of samples will be available to respond to scientifically relevant questions requiring larger sample sizes.
COLMAH-HERACLES is led by Teresa Pérez and is centralized in Valladolid (RD06/0009/0010 IBGM-UVA) for the collection of smooth muscle cell samples and in Valencia (RD/06/0009/0005 FICUV) for endothelial cell samples, coordinated by Carlos Hermenegildo. A large number of arterial samples will undergo complex processing, with the goal of obtaining the most information possible from these tissues, which are gathered in limited quantities. The sample processing procedures will allow us to obtain the following:
Each sample is accompanied by key clinical data for the patient: age, sex, and history of relevant risk factors – levels for lipids, blood pressure, urea, creatinine, and glycemia.