Recent advances in the understanding of vascular disease genesis suggest that atherosclerosis and hypertension, primary targets of therapy in the INternational VErapamil SR/trandolapril STudy (INVEST), are closely related. A unified model for the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is emerging from recent advances related to atherosclerosis and hypertension. The process of vascular disease appears to begin early in life, when signs of endothelial dysfunction first appear. A primary cause of CVD progression is increased oxidative stress in the endothelium caused by multiple risk factor conditions, including heredity, dyslipidemia, smoking, diabetes, and elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP > 110 mmHg). The renin-angiotensin and kallikrein-kinin systems are important regulators of blood pressure and atherosclerosis. In the renin-angiotensin system, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) mediates generation of angiotensin II (ang II) at local vascular sites and in the plasma and also degrades bradykinin. Information derived from INVEST will help to identify treatment strategies, such as those containing a calcium antagonist and an ACE inhibitor, that are targeted directly at the vascular disorder responsible for hypertension and atherosclerosis.