NattoPharma, now Gnosis by Lesaffre, has highlighted the work of PhD candidate Grzegorz Wasilewski, who defended his thesis on February 22, 2022, at Maastricht University, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), The Netherlands. His work was supported by funding from the Norwegian Research Council and a research grant awarded to Gnosis by Lesaffre.
The thesis, "Calcium Paradox – the role of vitamin K in the bone-vascular axis"1, is based on work Wasilewski has done with Prof Leon Schurgers, Professor of Biochemistry of Vascular Calcification and Vice-Chair of Biochemistry at CARIM, Maastricht University. This research includes a review paper2, an in-vivo study exploring the combination of phosphate binder therapy with vitamin K2 to inhibit vascular calcification in kidney patients3, and an in-vitro study examining the impact of K2 as MK-7 supplementation in osteogenesis4.
“Scientists from Maastricht University have recently shown that combining vitamin K2 with phosphate binder treatment reduces vasculature and cartilage calcification. Additionally, they also discovered a novel role of vitamin K2 in beneficially affecting osteoblast maturation from induced pluripotent stem cells. Their findings might be clinically relevant for chronic kidney disease patients and for those seeking stem-cell therapies,” Wasilwski said in his defense.
"With these discoveries, we are a step closer towards management of vascular calcification in chronic kidney disease patients. Using our novel experimental animal model of chronic kidney disease and vitamin K-deficiency demonstrates the beneficial role of combining phosphate binders with vitamin K2 in reducing vascular calcification compared to phosphate binders alone,” he added, noting future clinical trials are required to discover whether vitamin K2 needs to be implemented in standard treatment therapy with phosphate binders. "Further, we have discovered a novel non-canonical role of vitamin K2 in aiding collagen synthesis in our iPSC model of osteoblast differentiation. Our results are fascinating as it changes the perspective on how MK-7 can impact skeletal disorders as well as paving the way for stem cell-based personalised therapy."
Since 2004, NattoPharma has worked closely with the Maastricht University in documenting benefits of the company’s vitamin K2 as MK-7 brand MenaQ7. The research grant awarded to the company’s International Research Network enabled training in therapeutic strategies with the ingredient, integrating early detection and prevention, to develop approaches to the management of chronic vascular and metabolic diseases that affect the increasing ageing population of Western societies.
Wasilewski was under the supervision of Prof Leon Schurgers, a co-leader in the multidisciplinary research project together with Dr Hogne Vik, CMO at Gnosis by Lesaffre.
“We are honoured to have had the opportunity to support this distinguished researcher, and to see him come through this program making a substantial contribution to the argument that Vitamin K2 as MK-7 can indeed change the face of global health,” said Dr Vik. “This work is so important as we continue to build an unshakeable science-based argument for Vitamin K2 as MK-7 is an essential nutrient worthy of its own Recommended Daily Intake (RDI), but also as a potential therapy for patient populations who express excessive calcification as a symptom of their condition.”