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Aim of the THOR project

The THOR project investigates how smooth muscle cells are involved in atherosclerosis. Read more about the aim of the THOR project here.

The aim is to provide improved basic knowledge about the biology of smooth muscle cells and about the genes that control smooth muscle cell development. This knowledge can be exploited for drug development to treat atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.

These diseases include heart attacks, ischemic strokes and ischemia in the legs, and it is the leading cause of death and disability in the world. Drugs that can lower the causal risk factors for atherosclerosis (e.g., to treat high cholesterol and blood pressure) are already available, but people are still struck by the disease, and further potentials for risk factor reduction are close to being exhausted. It is therefore timely to look beyond risk factor reduction and identify key disease mechanisms that can be targeted by drugs working orthogonally to existing therapies. Vascular smooth muscle cells are promising targets for such substances.


  • Professor Jacob Fog Bentzon, Department of Clinical Medicine
  • Associate Professor Mette Nyegaard, Department of Biomedicine
  • Michael Nyberg, Novo Nordisk A/S