Unique research study aims to avert cardiopulmonary diseases

14 October 2015

Early October saw work beginning in Uppsala on SCAPIS, the Swedish research project to build a medical knowledge bank based on data from 30,000 Swedes. The purpose is to improve prevention and treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases.

Work began at Uppsala University at the start of October on SCAPIS – the Swedish CArdioPulmonary bioImage Study – which is a unique Swedish research project on cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Researchers at six Swedish university hospitals are jointly engaged in building a medical knowledge bank which aims to identify individuals at risk of developing cardiopulmonary diseases – and to prevent those diseases from developing. At Uppsala University, the work is headed by Johan Sundström, Professor of Epidemiology, and Lars Lind, Professor of Cardiovascular Epidemiology at the Department of Medical Sciences.

‘Despite major advances in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, they are still the most common cause of morbidity and premature death. Research is providing evidence of a frequent link between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases. Our aim with SCAPIS is to contribute to furthering knowledge of the genesis of these diseases in order to prevent them, to provide better and earlier diagnosis, to intervene in the course of the disease, and to develop new and more effective therapeutic methods and medicines,’ Johan Sundström explains.

The SCAPIS project will include 30,000 Swedes aged 50-64 years. In Uppsala, 5,000 randomly selected women and men will receive a personal invitation to participate voluntarily in the study, at no cost to themselves. Those who choose to take part will be given a thorough medical examination including the heart, arteries and lungs, using the latest technology. They will also be given information about their current medical status as regards blood glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol and lifestyle factors which affect the risk for cardiovascular diseases.

‘All the participants will be told the results of their tests. If we believe it is advisable to offer further medical investigations or treatment, we will let the participants know and offer medical care to those who need it. But above all, each participant will contribute to improving the possibilities for detection, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases and COPD,’ Lars Lind says.

The study participants will asked to turn up at the the SCAPIS Test Center at Dag Hammarskjölds väg in Uppsala twice. Following these visits, they will be given a chest CT scan of the heart and lungs at Uppsala University Hospital. Blood samples taken for testing will be stored in the Uppsala Biobank for analysis once the study is concluded, when they will undergo biochemical and genetic analysis aimed at better understanding arteriosclerosis, cardiac diseases and pulmonary diseases like COPD and associated conditions, such as obesity and diabetes.

‘Each sample is coded, which means that the individual participant’s name and personal identity number cannot be traced without the decoding key. The samples will only be used for the purposes approved by the participant, and all participants are entitled to withdraw from the study without further explanation or to request that their samples be destroyed,’ adds Lars Lind.

SCAPIS is funded by the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Vinnova, the Swedish Research Council, Uppsala County Council and Uppsala University.

Facts: The purpose of the SCAPIS research project is to:

  • Identify individual risks for stroke, sudden cardiac arrest, cardiac infarct and other cardiac diseases
  • Identify chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at an early stage in order to better treat the disease
  • Identify the risk for any other pulmonary diseases
  • Improve individuals’ health by means of improved diagnostics, care and treatment

Magnus Alsne