Program leadership

Director: Jordan D. Miller, Ph.D.

Cardiovascular Program

The Cardiovascular Program within the Kogod Center on Aging is focused on identifying and targeting fundamental biological mechanisms that contribute to declines in cardiovascular function with aging. Critically — and despite major advances in how risk factors are managed in aging patients — age-associated cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and virtually all other developed nations.

The Cardiovascular Program takes a two-pronged approach to attacking cardiovascular diseases:

  • Identifying disease-specific molecular changes that allow for highly targeted strategies that can slow, halt or reverse age-associated cardiovascular diseases.
  • Investigating the role of fundamental mechanisms contributing to organismal aging in the genesis and progression of age-associated cardiovascular diseases.

By leveraging this approach, Mayo Clinic researchers advocate for a new treatment paradigm for people with cardiovascular disease or at risk of cardiovascular disease. In this paradigm, aggressive risk factor-specific and disease-specific treatments synergize with novel therapeutics targeting the fundamental processes of aging. Our researchers believe that a radical shift in treatment is essential to reduce the tremendous socioeconomic burden cardiovascular disease places on society.

Focus areas

Research focus areas in the Cardiovascular Program include:

  • Eliminating dysfunctional senescent cells and other pathways that drive aging as a novel strategy to slow progression of multiple cardiovascular diseases.
  • Suppressing the release of toxic factors secreted by senescent cells that accelerate development of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Targeting novel, disease-specific mechanisms and risk factors that contribute to disease progression and can be combined with therapeutics targeting fundamental mechanisms of aging.

Research findings

Significant research results from the Cardiovascular Program include:

  • Executing key proof-of-concept animal and human trials targeting nitric oxide signaling in valve disease, and development of the first novel therapeutic strategy shown to slow progression of aortic valve calcification in humans.
  • Discovering that clearance of senescent cells can slow progression of cardiovascular calcification in multiple mouse models of cardiovascular disease.