Cookie Preference

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. Please select an option.  Privacy Policy

No cookies except for those necessary for technical reasons are set.


Innovative biomarker for early prediction of atherosclerosis

Prof. Torsten Witte, Hannover Medical School; Dr Niklas Thomas Baerlecken, Hannover Medical School; Dr Diana Ernst, Hannover Medical School

Ascenion GmbH


Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory process of blood vessel walls leading to coronary, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular disease. Life style aspects such as smoking or obesity as well as chronic diseases or physiological dysregulation appear to be important risk factors in development of atherosclerosis. Besides these factors there is growing evidence that an autoimmune component contributes significantly to the initial processes. However, the early stage of disease reveals no obvious symptoms. Therefore the provision of diagnostic markers, particularly for early diagnosis, remains a challenge.


Comprehensive analysis by protein array screening identified autoantibodies against MAZ (MYC associated zinc finger protein) as a novel biomarker for atherosclerosis. In the recent past, autoantibodies turned out to be enormously beneficial for the specific diagnosis of various pathological conditions, e.g. in inflammatory rheumatoid diseases. Noteworthy, the detection of MAZ-autoantibodies is clearly correlated with the presence or absence of calcified plaques in angiographically-proven ischemia patients. Therefore, MAZ-autoantibodies represent a novel biomarker for the early disease onset of atherosclerosis and will be extremely valuable for the timely treatment of affected patients.

Commercial Opportunity

In-licensing opportunity for a diagnostic test based on patient blood samples.

Development Status

Proof of principle analysis by in vitro and in vivo studies.

Patent Situation

Patent applications (based on WO 2017/012929 A1) are pending in EP and US with priority of 2015.

Further Reading

Ernst D, Weiberg D, Baerlecken NT, Witte T et al. 2017. Anti-MYC-associated zinc finger protein antibodies are associated with inflammatory atherosclerotic lesions on 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography. Atherosclerosis. 259:12-19.


Innovative biomarker for early prediction of atherosclerosis