Molecular Medicine research group, led by Academy Professor Seppo Ylä-Herttuala, is focused on developing new gene and protein-based approaches for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Our group was the first in the world to use direct adenoviral gene transfer to human arteries in vivo in 1996. Major achievements include the discovery of the vasculoprotective effect of VEGF gene therapy, characterization of the vascular effects of the new members of the VEGF family including their effects on lymphatic vessels, and identification of several new candidate genes for the treatment of vascular diseases. Several significant improvements have been made to adenoviral, lentiviral and baculoviral gene transfer vectors, their expression cassettes and targeting properties. Also, a completely new concept - "Epigenetherapy" - has been discovered by our group, where promoter-targeted shRNAs can upregulate endogenous gene expression. Two of our discoveries in gene-based drugs have been brought to phase II/III human clinical trials in EU and USA.