Which patients with cardiovascular diseases run the risk of a (new) heart attack, heart failure or stroke? What is the optimum personalised treatment? On 15 April, cardiologist Prof. Folkert Asselbergs (University Medical Center Utrecht) received the ZonMw Pearl for a data collection that contributes to answering these questions and for developing a self-management platform.


The committee that awards the Pearl refers to Asselbergs as a bridge-builder who has contributed to a unique international collaboration. Currently, the genetic and clinical data of about 260,000 people from 64 hospitals have been stored in a standardised manner and made available for research. The international collaboration works with so-called federated data analyses, which leave the data in the original hospital. The analysis program visits all local data collections, so to speak, and only reports the conclusions. In this way, patients’ privacy can be guaranteed, and international collaboration becomes easier from a legal perspective too. That is because the patients’ personal data do not leave the hospital.

Initial results

It was found that not all genetic risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases contribute to an increased risk of recurring problems. A better understanding was also gained of individual differences in response to drugs and other treatments, as a result of which treatments can become increasingly personalised.



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