The research focus of Wihuri Research Institute (WRI) is on cardiovascular diseases and cancer, that are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the developed countries. Current cardiovascular and cancer therapies are often insufficient, unsuccessful or not suitable for all patients, thus novel therapies are urgently needed. Inhibition of blood vessel growth or angiogenesis is already used in the treatment of patients in the clinics, but with limited success. On the other hand, stimulation of the growth of blood vessels, angiogenesis, and of arteriogenesis has been unsuccessfully tried for the treatment of tissue ischemia in humans. The elucidation of disease-related functions of endothelial growth factors and their signal transduction in cardiovascular disease and cancer should help in development of improved therapy for these diseases. Possible new therapy requires solid knowledge of the biology of vascular endothelial growth factors, angiopoietins, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis.
The research program in the Wihuri Research Institute is focused on diseases of the vascular system, including cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The research program is likely to provide significant new advances for the understanding of angiogenesis linked to these diseases, as well as vascular biology related to cardiovascular diseases and their predisposing conditions – obesity and associated tissue inflammation. Research in this program is internationally networked and it should allow the development and growth of new and independent research initiatives of considerable future potential.
The Wihuri Research Institute
The Wihuri Research Institute was founded in 1944, by the Wihuri Foundation. The purpose of the Institute, as stated in its regulations, is to create conditions for Finnish scientists considered to be especially talented in the fields of natural sciences, medicine or technology, to develop their accomplishments as far as possible, so that, free from all other duties, they can devote themselves entirely to their research and by drawing benefit from all recent achievements of science, strive to create something new for the benefit of mankind. The Wihuri Research Institute is led by Academy professor Kari Alitalo.
The Wihuri Research Institute has become widely known in medical circles for its work on diseases of the heart and circulatory system. Contacts with researchers overseas are extensive.
The Institute is located in Biomedicum Helsinki, at the Meilahti Academic Medical Center, which comprises activities of the University of Helsinki and the University Helsinki Hospital. Research activities are linked within the campus and internationally connected, and the Institute benefits from shared technology core facilities at the campus.