Humana health-plan members in Chicago and South Florida volunteered to participate in study
Louisville, Ky. and Waltham, Mass. – July 7, 2009 – Imagine if doctors could easily detect the conditions that cause many heart attacks or strokes – in time to prevent the life-threatening attacks. BG Medicine and Humana have enrolled 6,822 Humana members in a study intended to develop new diagnostics for predicting heart attacks and strokes in the months or years before they happen. Although effective treatments are likely to exist and several new treatments are being developed, only reliably finding people who are at high risk can make effective prevention of first heart attacks and strokes possible. The Humana members volunteered to participate in the study.
“No other medical problem has a greater impact on life expectancy in the Western world than these serious cardiovascular events – heart attacks and strokes,” said Dr. Valentin Fuster, chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for the HRP Initiative (described below) and principal investigator of the BioImage study. “A significant barrier to effective prevention is our current inability to effectively identify people most likely to have a heart attack or stroke. This is what we set out to do with the HRP Initiative and the BG Medicine – Humana BioImage study; we already have several exciting leads that make us optimistic we will succeed.”
Dr. Fuster is a leading international cardiologist who serves as director of the Zena and Michael A. Weiner Cardiovascular Institute and the Marie-Josee and Henry R. Kravis Center for Cardiovascular Health, and director of Mount Sinai Heart.
“This is a study of many firsts,” said Pieter Muntendam, MD, president and chief executive officer of BG Medicine. “It is significant not only because of what we’re studying and seeking to discover, but also because of how we recruited study volunteers in partnership with a prominent health-benefits company. Our study participants are much more representative of the population at large than participants in many other large-scale studies, and we will be able to obtain rich, detailed data about our participants.”
Humana members in Chicago and South Florida within select age groups were eligible to participate in the study – which was open to Humana members age 55 to 80 for men and 60 to 80 for women. Participants visited a temporary research location where they completed a detailed survey and underwent a number of clinical tests. (All data collected and shared for the study is HIPAA compliant.)
“There is an increasing gap between what research is teaching academic scientists and the realworld of clinical medicine,” said Carol McCall, vice president of research and development for Humana. “With pioneering studies such as this one, BG Medicine and Humana are employing a new approach to research – with the help of our health-plan members who volunteer to find solutions that can provide better medical care for lower costs.”
The study participants also underwent an advanced ultrasound examination of arteries in the neck (carotid arteries) and a CT-scan measurement of calcium deposits in the coronary artery. Additionally, participants provided blood samples for future research. The study was overseen by an independent Institutional Review Board in compliance with applicable laws. For more information on the study, visit www.bioimagestudy.com.
Humana is being paid for its services in the BioImage study and holds a minority equity interest in BG Medicine.
About BG Medicine
BG Medicine (www.bg-medicine.com) a pioneer in the area of biomarker-guided medicine, is developing diagnostic tests based on biomarkers that are intended to provide information to physicians that will improve patient-treatment decisions. BG Medicine tests are designed to predict a patient’s response to a drug therapy, determine the potential toxicity of therapeutic agents to patients, identify 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.
BG Medicine’s patented technology platform is the discovery engine that enables the company 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 people at highest risk for heart attack or stroke. The HRP Initiative is supported and directed by Merck, AstraZeneca, Abbott, Takeda, and Philips. BG Medicine has ongoing joint initiatives with major pharmaceutical companies, other health care organizations including Humana and Philips, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 10.4 million medical members. Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplementary benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals. Over its 48-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.
More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at http://www.humana.com, including copies of:
Annual reports to stockholders
Humana Corporate Communications
BG Medicine Corporate Communications