Biosamples from the Framingham Heart Study will be used to Discover New Blood Tests for Heart Disease
WALTHAM, Mass., March 12 /PRNewswire/ -- BG Medicine, a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel diagnostic biomarkers, today announced the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health and Boston University (BU).
Under the agreement, the three parties will jointly conduct a series of biomarker discovery studies for heart disease and early detection of metabolic syndrome -- a combination of certain risk factors, including abdominal obesity, hypertension, and insulin resistance -- which are believed to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
BG Medicine's highly advanced technology, which can detect and validate subtle biological changes at the molecular level, will analyze biosamples obtained during years of collection by Framingham Heart Study researchers. The Framingham Heart Study is funded by NHLBI and conducted in collaboration with BU's School of Medicine and School of Public Health.
The collaborative research aims to identify those at high risk of heart attack and stroke, two of the world's leading killers.
The research study -- Systems Approach to Biomarker Research in Cardiovascular Disease (SABRe CVD) -- may also aid pharmaceutical companies in developing novel medicines to prevent or treat these conditions.
The collaboration is the first time in the Framingham Heart Study's 60-year history that it is partnering with a commercial company in a CRADA research project.
"This research partnership could ultimately lead to simple blood tests for heart disease that could help us identify high-risk individuals earlier so they can take action sooner to prevent heart attacks and stroke," said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D.
"We are grateful to the thousands of people who have participated in the Framingham Heart Study over the last six decades -- their cooperation will again help scientists make great strides in understanding, preventing, and treating cardiovascular diseases."
Only information from participants who have consented to sharing their specimens and data with commercial researchers will be used, and all shared information will be de-identified to protect participants' privacy.
"The collaborative research planned under this agreement focuses on blood biomarkers of atherosclerotic vascular disease as determined by multiple imaging modalities," said Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D. director of Mount Sinai Heart at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, NY, and chairman of another cardiovascular biomarker initiative known as the HRP Initiative.
"This will further contribute to our insight in the discrepancies between risk factors and disease -- some people with multiple risk factors are disease-free, while others with a favorable risk factor profile have extensive atherosclerotic vascular disease."
"It is an honor and a privilege to be able to participate in this important research using the Framingham biosamples," said Pieter Muntendam, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of BG Medicine (www.bg-medicine.com). "Use of these advanced research platforms now enable the kind of biomarker research that was impossible just a couple of years ago."
BG Medicine also is playing a lead role in the HRP Initiative (www.HRPInitiative.com). The HRP initiative is conducting a number of studies to discover and validate novel blood or imaging biomarkers of atherosclerosis and risk for atherothrombosis.
The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) began in 1948 under the direction of NHLBI to study the development of cardiovascular disease over time. When FHS started it recruited an Original Cohort of 5,209 men and women between the ages of 30 and 62 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts, who had not yet developed overt symptoms of cardiovascular disease or suffered a heart attack or stroke. Today, more than 9,000 participants spanning three generations are enrolled in the community-based study.
About BG Medicine
BG Medicine (www.bg-medicine.com) is developing novel diagnostic tests based on biomarkers that are intended to provide information to physicians that will improve patient treatment decisions. The company's diagnostic tests are designed to predict a patient's response to a drug therapy, determine the potential toxicity of therapeutic agents to patients who have or are likely to develop a specific disease, predict a patient's prognosis once a disease has been diagnosed and monitor a patient's disease progression or drug response.
The company's patented technology platform is the discovery engine that enables it to identify new biomarkers by integrating and automating the measurement, analysis, characterization and interpretation of proteins and small non-protein biological molecules, or metabolites, collected from bodily fluids.
BG Medicine initiated the HRP Initiative (www.HRPInitiative.com), the largest industry funded biomarker initiative that aims to develop new means of recognizing those at highest risk for heart attack or stroke. The HRP Initiative is supported and directed by Merck, AstraZeneca, Abbott, Takeda, and Philips. We have ongoing joint initiatives with major pharmaceutical companies, other healthcare organizations including Humana and Philips and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.