The Leducq Foundation. Improving health through international cardiovascular research

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1 The Leducq Foundation Improving health through international cardiovascular research

2 History Jean Leducq was a French entrepreneur who, over the course of fifty years, built a successful international business involving the supply and care of linens and uniforms. In 1883, Jean s grandfather founded a laundry service in a suburb north of Paris. The company sent its horse-drawn carriages all over Paris to supply restaurants, hotels and public baths with clean linen. Just after World War II, Jean was sent by his father to Rouen, to get the factory in Normandy back on its feet. He had barely arrived when the US army placed an order for 50 tons of linen to be cleaned each week!

3 History In 1968, Jean, now in charge of the family business, grouped its activities into a new entity called Elis, an abbreviation for Europe Linge Service. Elis clients included Euro Disney and the French Olympic team, for which Elis created the official uniforms. In the United States, Jean founded Rental Uniform Services, based in Culpeper, Virginia, which was later bought by Cintas, a leader in the uniform industry.

4 History In the mid 1970 s, Jean was admitted to a hospital in Nice, France, for a suspected heart attack. Concerned because his father and grandfather had died in their fifties of heart disease, he decided to seek care at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. There, he was the beneficiary of a relatively new technology of the time: coronary artery bypass surgery. Impressed with the quality of care he received, Jean continued to seek medical treatment at the Mayo Clinic for the rest of his life, and went on to live into his eighties. His connections to the Mayo Clinic would become very helpful later when he began to think about creating a foundation to promote medical research.

5 History Shortly before the sale of his business, Jean and his wife Sylviane created the Leducq Foundation, charging it with the mission of improving human health through international efforts to combat cardiovascular disease. Having strong ties in both Europe and North America, the Leducq s decided that the Foundation should support collaborative work between scientific investigators on the two continents. The private philanthropic Foundation, based in Paris, was officially recognized by the French government in 1996.

6 History During their tenure in Culpeper, VA, the Leducq s became very interested in American wines. As with everything that Jean pursued, he did it with total commitment and passion and his foray into the wine business was no exception! In 2001, Jean purchased the historic Ehlers Estate. Located in St. Helena, in the highly regarded Napa Valley, the 42 acre property grows certified organic Bordeaux varieties with an emphasis on biodynamic farming practices.

7 History Under the direction of Winemaker and General Manager, Kevin Morrisey, Ehlers Estate is dedicated to terroir driven, small lot, hand crafted expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. The pinnacle offering from the Estate is the Cabernet Sauvignon In 2002, Ehlers Estate passed into trust of the Leducq Foundation. The heart within the winery logo underscores this unique ownership as the proceeds from the wines support the mission of the Foundation.

8 The Foundation The Leducq Foundation awarded its first research grants in Its principal program, the Transatlantic Networks of Excellence for Cardiovascular Research, was initiated in This program is unique in that it supports teams of scientists from North America and Europe working together in cardiovascular and neurovascular research. As of 2010, the Leducq Foundation has awarded more than $187 million in grants to more than 314 researchers at 105 institutions across 16 countries.

9 The Foundation North American institutions which have received Leducq funding: ALABAMA University of Alabama, Birmingham CALIFORNIA Salk Institute Stanford University University of California, Davis University of California, San Diego University of California, San Francisco University of California, Los Angeles COLORADO University of Colorado CONNECTICUT Yale FLORIDA University of Miami GEORGIA Medical College of Georgia ILLINOIS University of Chicago Northwestern IOWA University of Iowa MARYLAND Johns Hopkins National Institutes of Health University of Maryland MASSACHUSETTS Boston University Harvard MICHIGAN University of Michigan MINNESOTA Mayo Clinic University of Minnesota MISSOURI Washington University OHIO Case Western Reserve Cleveland Clinic University of Cincinnati NEW YORK Columbia University Mount Sinai School of Medicine NORTH CAROLINA Duke OKLAHOMA Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation PENNSYLVANIA University of Pennsylvania SOUTH CAROLINA Clemson Medical University of South Carolina TENNESSEE Vanderbilt TEXAS Baylor College of Medicine Texas A & M University of Texas, Southwestern UTAH University of Utah VERMONT University of Vermont WASHINGTON University of Washington, Seattle CANADA Montreal Heart Institute University of British Columbia University of Toronto MEXICO National University, Mexico

10 The Foundation European institutions which have received Leducq funding: UNITED KINGDOM Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Imperial College, London London Research Institute Oxford University of Edinburgh University of Glasgow University of London FRANCE AUSTRIA College de France University of Vienna Hôpital Cardiologique du Haut-Levêque Institut des Cordeliers National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) National Institute for Research in Computer science (INRIA) THE NETHERLANDS Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam Leiden University University of Maastricht University of Utrecht FINLAND University of Kuopio SWEDEN Karolinska Instituet DENMARK University of Aarhus University of Copenhagen BELGIUM Catholic University of Leuven CZECH REPUBLIC Academy of Sciences, Prague SWITZERLAND Swiss Federal Institute of Technology University of Bern University of Lausanne GERMANY Dresden University of Technology Georg-August University Goethe University Hannover Medical School Technical University Munich University of Hamburg University of Munster University of Wurzburg ITALY European Molecular Biology Laboratory Institute of Molecular Oncology IRCSS Fondazione S Maugeri Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche National Council of Research Politecnico di Milano University of Pavia University of Rome, Sapienza University of Turin ISRAEL Tel Aviv University

11 The Foundation Following Jean s death in 2002, Sylviane has carried on the work of the Foundation, currently serving as President of its board of directors. In March 2009, she was awarded the French Legion of Honor in recognition of her generosity and leadership of the Foundation.

12 Science The research programs funded by the Leducq Foundation address the most fundamental and pressing challenges in cardiovascular and neurovascular disease. While these challenges would be difficult for a researcher to tackle alone, Leducq Foundation funding allows teams of researchers to combine of their complementary strengths in different disciplines to undertake ambitious and groundbreaking research. Following are some examples of the advances made possible through Leducq Foundation support.

13 Science: Peripartum Cardiomyopathy Peripartum cardiomyopathy (PPCM) is a syndrome of heart failure occurring late in pregnancy or early in the postpartum period. PPCM occurs 1 in births in the US per year and more than 1 in 300 births in Haiti and Africa. PPCM carries a high death rate, between 18 and 56%. PPCM can occur in any woman of any racial background, at any age, and in any pregnancy. Because the cause of PPCM had been unknown, patients were treated with general heart failure medications not specifically aimed at the disease, with variable success. Leducq Foundation researchers have found evidence that PPCM is caused by an altered form of prolactin, a hormone normally produced in pregnant and post-partum women. In small studies, a blocker of prolactin release appears to be effective in treating PPCM. Large clinical trials are now underway in the US and Germany. If proven to work, this treatment would be a tremendous breakthrough in our understanding and treatment of PPCM.

14 Science: Stroke Stroke is the the leading cause of serious, long-term disability and the third cause of death in the US, after heart disease and cancer. The majority of strokes are caused by clots in the blood vessels supplying the brain. The most effective drug treatment for stroke is tpa, an enzyme that breaks up clots. tpa must be given within 3 hours of the start of stroke symptoms. Otherwise, devastating side effects like bleeding can occur. Unfortunately, more than 90% of stroke patients cannot receive tpa because they fall outside of this 3-hour window. Supported researchers from the Leducq Foundation have discovered a potential means to protect patients from the side effects of tpa, using a drug that is already available for cancer treatment. This drug appears to extend the therapeutic window of tpa to at least 5 hours. As a result, hundreds of thousands of patients would be able to receive tpa and have less disability after stroke. This treatment is now being studied in human clinical trials.

15 Science: Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Development Congenital heart defects are problems with the heart s structure present at birth. They are the most common type of birth defect, affecting 8 of every 1,000 newborns. Each year, more than 35,000 babies in the US are born with congenital heart defects, and approximately 1 million adults live with congenital heart disease. Research in several Transatlantic Networks have increased our insight into the causes of, and treatment strategies for, congenital heart disease. One network has discovered a type of cell that is critical in heart development. Abnormalities in this cell type may be responsible for a great proportion of congenital heart defects. Moreover, because this cell type gives rise to heart muscle and blood vessels, it may someday be used to generate tissues to patch up damaged areas of the heart. Another network is developing sophisticated computer models of heart defects that can be customized to individual patients, who often need several operations in childhood. This would allow doctors to predict the effects of various surgical operations to help guide their treatment decisions.

16 Science: Cardiac arrhythmias Cardiac arrhythmias are conditions in which abnormal electrical activity of the heart leads to heart beats that are too fast or too slow. At one extreme, rapid, disorganized beats can lead to cardiac arrest and sudden cardiac death (SCD). SCD currently accounts for more than half of all cardiovascular deaths in the US. One Transatlantic Network is focused on identifying people at risk for SCD, who often have no sign of cardiac disease. By studying more than 18,000 patients, this Network has pinpointed variants in a certain gene that are associated with an increased risk of SCD. Reliable identification of those at risk will allow doctors and patients to take appropriate measures to prevent SCD. At the other extreme, an abnormally slow heart rhythm can lead to symptoms like dizziness, fainting spells, and shortness of breath. One type of slow arrhythmia, sinus node dysfunction (SND), is the reason for more than half of all pacemaker implantations in the US, at an annual cost of nearly $2 billion. Until now, the mechanisms underlying SND were unknown. Researchers from two Transatlantic Networks working together have shown that reduced levels of a certain protein was responsible for SND in some patients. This discovery provides insight into new strategies to prevent and treat SND.

17 Science: Heart Failure Heart failure is a condition in which a problem with the structure or function of the heart impairs its ability to supply the blood flow to meet the body s needs. Despite advances in its treatment, heart failure remains the leading cause of hospitalization in the US and a major cause of death. Patients with heart failure suffer from shortness of breath, decreased tolerance of physical activity, decreased appetite, side effects from their medications, and, in later stages, failure of other organs. Several Transatlantic Networks are focused on better understanding the molecular changes that lead to heart failure so as to develop novel strategies for its treatment. These strategies include: Gene therapy to restore the function of certain proteins in the heart muscle Molecules that intervene at the level of microrna molecules Cell therapy to introduce healthy cells into damaged areas Tissue engineering of healthy heart muscle to repair poorly functioning areas Supported researchers from the Leducq Foundation are at the forefront of developing these new strategies, which are at different stages of clinical testing.

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