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MedUni Vienna coordinates international research project

(Vienna, 9 March 2011) The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) plays an important role in cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The precise mechanisms are still largely unknown, however. Under the supervision of MedUni Vienna, eleven upcoming scientists at European universities are carrying out research to decipher these processes as part of the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN).

The difference between the calcium concentration inside and outside the cell plays a decisive role in cell division and/or cell movement. This means it is also important for many diseases. The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is used to determine the calcium levels outside the cell. This regulates the calcium levels (calcium homeostasis). It therefore plays a decisive role in various processes such as the regulation of the vascular tone or the blood pressure and in vascular repair and maintenance mechanisms. This is why the role of CaSR in cardiovascular diseases needs to be studied more closely. The receptor also plays an important role in the development of tumours, however.


The calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) regulates the calcium levels (calcium homeostasis) but also plays an important role in cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

In this field upcoming scientists are carrying out research as part of the EU research project “Multifaceted CaSR – The role of the Calcium Sensing Receptor in health and disease, implications for translational medicine” to study the specific mechanisms which are responsible for the transition from benign to malignant tumours in the development of colon cancers. Here epigenetic changes of the cells are examined and the growth-inhibiting effect of food-absorbed calcium, which is determined via CaSR, and the underlying signal transduction pathways are also characterised.

Assistant Prof. Mag. Dr. Enikö Kallay (left) from the Institute of Pathophysiology and Allergy Research is coordinating the project and, together with Ao. Univ. Prof. DI Dr. Sabina Baumgartner-Parzer (right) from the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism in Department of Medicine III, is heading this research work and supervising the young scientists.

The promotion of these scientists is also an essential goal of the project, which is being carried out as part of the “Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN)”. Special training is therefore also offered as well as project- and laboratory-specific experimental methods. This includes aspects of systems biology, e-learning, ethics, project, quality and risk management, presentation techniques and writing scientific texts. At MedUni Vienna the PhD programmes “Molecular Signal Transduction”, “Malignant Diseases” und “Endocrinology & Metabolism” have been integrated especially.

Partner universities for this project are the Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens (F), Cardiff University (UK), the University of Oxford (UK), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL) and the University of Florence (I) and these are joined by the company AstraZenica UK Limited (UK). As associate partners Amgen-GmbH and FH Johanneum GmbH, Austria and also AHT-Management Kft from Hungary are taking part in this programme.