EP Meeting Highlights

News From the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016

Compiled by Jodie Elrod

Compiled by Jodie Elrod

The American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2016 took place on November 12-16 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Below is a compilation of clinical news highlights from the meeting.

Boston Scientific Announces Positive Results of HeartLogic™ Heart Failure Diagnostic Service

Boston Scientific announced results from the first clinical trial evaluating the performance of the HeartLogic™ Heart Failure Diagnostic Service to predict impending heart failure (HF) decompensation. Data collected from the Multisensor Chronic Evaluation in Ambulatory Heart Failure Patients (MultiSENSE) study were presented as a late-breaking clinical trial at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2016, and confirmed the HeartLogic alert provided a highly sensitive and timely predictor of a future HF event.

Data from the MultiSENSE trial demonstrated the HeartLogic alert had an observed sensitivity of 70% and a low unexplained alert rate (alerts not followed by a HF event) of 1.47 per patient per year. Additionally, the trial data demonstrated the HeartLogic alert could successfully notify clinicians of an associated HF event — defined as hospitalizations with HF as the primary diagnosis and HF outpatient treatment with intravenous therapy — with a 34-day median alert window.

“The primary endpoints were exceeded and demonstrated that this algorithm, which mimics the activity and analysis of a clinician by combining multiple measurements evaluating different aspects of heart physiology, is a strong predictor of heart failure events,” said John P. Boehmer, MD, principal investigator and medical director of the Heart Failure Program at The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and The Penn State Hershey Medical Center. “The study illustrates compelling performance of the HeartLogic algorithm for the detection of worsening heart failure and lays the foundation for future studies of the alert in clinical practice.”

The study included 900 patients who had enhanced sensor data collection enabled in their cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) systems and were followed for up to one year in either a development or test cohort. Information from the 500 patients within the development set was used to construct the HeartLogic composite index and alert algorithm by combining heart sounds, respiration rate and volume, thoracic impedance, heart rate and activity. The 400 patients within the test set were sequestered for subsequent independent validation of HeartLogic. 

“The successful results from this study and the development of the HeartLogic service are foundational to our continued development of differentiated solutions for the management of heart failure,” said Kenneth Stein, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Global Health Policy and Rhythm Management, Boston Scientific. 

The company has submitted a design dossier for CE Mark and a premarket approval application for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the HeartLogic service and plans to conduct post-approval studies, including Multiple cArdiac seNsors for mAnaGEment of Heart Failure (MANAGE-HF), to further evaluate the alert. 

The HeartLogic Heart Failure Diagnostic Service is not currently available for use or sale. 

About Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific transforms lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. As a global medical technology leader for more than 35 years, we advance science for life by providing a broad range of high performance solutions that address unmet patient needs and reduce the cost of healthcare. For more information, visit www.bostonscientific.com.

St. Jude Medical HeartMate 3 LVAS Demonstrated Improved Clinical Outcomes for Patients Suffering from Advanced Heart Failure

St. Jude Medical, Inc., a global medical device company, announced results of the MOMENTUM 3 U.S. IDE Clinical Study during a late-breaking clinical trial session at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2016. The MOMENTUM 3 study compared the HeartMate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist System (LVAS) to the HeartMate II™ LVAS in treating advanced stage heart failure and is the largest LVAD trial in the world to evaluate both short-term and long-term patients in a single study. The study results demonstrated patients receiving the HeartMate 3 LVAS had an 86.2 percent survival rate with freedom from disabling stroke and reoperation to repair or replace the device. 

The MOMENTUM 3 IDE study is a prospective, multicenter, randomized, unblinded, study evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the HeartMate 3 LVAS when used for the treatment of advanced, refractory, left ventricular heart failure. More than 1,000 patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class IIIB or IV heart failure are participating in the study. Patients are being followed for a short-term endpoint of six months, and a long-term endpoint of two years. Current data show the results at the six-month follow-up in the first 294 patients enrolled. 

The primary endpoint for the study was six months survival with freedom from disabling stroke and reoperation to repair or replace the device. The study met its primary endpoint (non-inferiority P<0.0001; superiority P=0.037). There were no pump thrombosis events reported in patients who were implanted with HeartMate 3 LVAS at six months, confirming the results observed with the HeartMate 3 LVAS in the CE Mark trial. Rates of all other adverse events were similar between the HeartMate 3 LVAS and historical rates seen in the HeartMate II LVAS, which is the most widely used and extensively studied LVAD commercially available. This study included all-comers, which means researchers evaluated the device regardless of whether the patient needed a short-term support option while awaiting transplantation or a long-term support option for those who are not candidates for cardiac transplantation. 

“The HeartMate 3 LVAS improved clinical outcomes in the MOMENTUM 3 study by avoiding the need for surgical reoperation to replace or remove the pump due to pump thrombosis,” said Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra, medical director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center in Boston. “More importantly, these clinical gains occurred without an increase in other adverse events, providing important therapeutic progress for our advanced heart failure patients.” 

The HeartMate 3 LVAS is a small, implantable mechanical circulatory support (MCS) device for advanced heart failure patients who are awaiting transplantation or are not candidates for heart transplantation. It is the first commercially approved (CE marked) LVAD with Full MagLev™ technology, designed to minimize complications and restore blood flow. The HeartMate 3 system utilizes Full MagLev technology, which allows the device’s rotor to be “suspended” by magnetic forces. This design aims to reduce trauma to blood passing through the pump and improve outcomes for patients. 

“These data in the MOMENTUM 3 study represent the continued advancement in therapy options available for patients living with debilitating heart failure,” said Dr. John B. O’Connell, vice president and medical director for mechanical circulatory support at St. Jude Medical. “The HeartMate II LVAS is an extremely important medical advancement with more than 24,000 implants having occurred to date, and it is the only LVAD approved for both Bridge-to-Transplant and Destination Therapy options in the U.S. The data, now being seen with the HeartMate 3 LVAS, show that we are taking the next steps in advancing medical therapy options.” 

Study Oversight Committee includes: 

  • Dr. Mandeep R. Mehra (Chair, Publication and Presentation Committee), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 
  • Dr. Joseph Cleveland, University of Colorado, Denver, CO 
  • Dr. Daniel Goldstein, Montefiore Medical Center, NY, NY 
  • Dr. Nir Uriel, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 

The HeartMate 3 LVAS is CE Mark approved and limited by federal law to investigational use in the United States. 

About the HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist System 

The HeartMate 3 LVAS includes a centrifugal blood pump that is implanted directly onto a patient’s native heart and designed to supplement the pumping ability of the weakened heart’s left ventricle, which is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood from the lungs throughout the body. The device is implanted above the diaphragm, immediately next to the native heart, and is attached to the aorta, leaving natural circulation in place while providing all of the energy necessary to propel blood throughout the body. The patient wears an external, wearable controller and battery system that powers the pump. The HeartMate 3 LVAS can pump up to 10 liters of blood per minute. 

About St. Jude Medical’s Heart Failure Business 

St. Jude Medical is pioneering heart failure disease management with innovative solutions like the CardioMEMS™ HF System, groundbreaking quadripolar technology and, in select European markets, the HeartMate 3™ left ventricular assist system and our first-to-market MultiPoint™ Pacing technology. 

St. Jude Medical collaborates with heart failure specialists, clinicians and advocacy partners to provide a comprehensive product portfolio that includes innovative, cost-effective solutions that help reduce hospitalizations and improve patient quality of life for heart failure patients around the world. 

For more information about St. Jude Medical’s focus on heart failure, visit the St. Jude Medical Heart Failure Media Kit or the St. Jude Medical PULSE Blog. 

Information for patients to learn more about heart failure can be found at www.heartfailureanswers.com. 

About St. Jude Medical 

St. Jude Medical is a leading global medical device manufacturer and is dedicated to transforming the treatment of some of the world’s most expensive epidemic diseases. The company does this by developing cost-effective medical technologies that save and improve lives of patients around the world. 
Headquartered in St. Paul, MN, St. Jude Medical employs approximately 18,000 people worldwide and has five major areas of focus that include heart failure, atrial fibrillation, neuromodulation, traditional cardiac rhythm management, and cardiovascular. For more information, please visit sjm.com

Updated Phase III Results Reinforce Safety and Efficacy of Praxbind® (idarucizumab) in Urgent Situations 

Boehringer Ingelheim announced updated results from data for 494 patients participating in the ongoing phase III RE-VERSE AD™ study, which showed that administration of 5g of idarucizumab immediately reversed the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran, the active ingredient in Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate).1 Idarucizumab, marketed as Praxbind®, is the first and only approved specific reversal agent for a non vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOAC) and RE-VERSE AD™ is the largest patient study investigating a reversal agent for a NOAC.2-4 The updated results were presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2016.1

RE-VERSE AD™ includes the types of patients healthcare professionals may treat in real-world emergency settings.2 The study enrolled patients treated with dabigatran who had uncontrolled or life-threatening bleeding (Group A, n=298, 60 percent) or required emergency surgery or an invasive procedure (Group B, n=196, 40 percent).1 This includes severely ill or injured patients (e.g., patients in an automobile accident with multiple injuries, patients with aortic aneurysm or patients receiving an organ transplant) who as such require urgent reversal of dabigatran.2

The primary endpoint of reversal of the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran within four hours was 100 percent1,2, as measured by diluted thrombin time (dTT) and ecarin clotting time (ECT) (95% CI, 100-100).1,2 Of note, reversal was evident immediately after administration of idarucizumab.1 For Group A patients with extracranial bleeding, median time to confirmation of hemostasis was 3.5 to 4.5 hours, depending on anatomical location.1 The source of bleeding was similar to the previous interim analysis (45 percent gastrointestinal, 33 percent intracranial hemorrhage).1,5 In Group B, 93 percent of patients experienced normal hemostasis during surgery, and the median time to the operating room was 1.6 hours after administration of idarucizumab.1

No safety signals attributed to idarucizumab were detected. All serious adverse events reported were considered to be related to the index event or comorbidities rather than to study treatment. Thrombotic events occurred in 6.3 percent (31/494) of patients within 90 days after idarucizumab administration. Approximately two-thirds of these patients received no anticoagulation prior to the event. Mortality rates were 12.3 percent (Group A) and 12.4 percent (Group B) at 30 days, and 18.7 percent (Group A) and 18.5 percent (Group B) at 90 days.1

“The availability of idarucizumab as a reversal agent for dabigatran is an important development in anticoagulation care, and RE-VERSE AD™ is the most robust examination of its real-world use and impact,” said Dr. Charles Pollack, lead investigator of RE-VERSE AD™, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia. “These results further support that, although idarucizumab is likely to be rarely used in light of the safety profile of dabigatran, a specific reversal agent provides an important therapeutic option for physicians and patients.”

“With these results, we have an unprecedented wealth of data on the use and effects of idarucizumab in urgent situations,” said Professor Jörg Kreuzer, Vice President Medicine, Therapeutic Area Cardiovascular, Boehringer Ingelheim. “These insights, together with the confirmed safety profile of dabigatran, can truly give physicians confidence in choosing a NOAC that provides a new level of care for their patients.”

About the RE-VERSE AD™ study

RE-VERSE AD™ is an ongoing phase III global study that includes patients taking dabigatran who require urgent procedures or have uncontrolled bleeding.2 The interim analysis from RE-VERSE AD™ included data from patients requiring urgent procedures / emergency surgery (e.g., surgery for an open fracture after a fall), or patients with either uncontrolled or life-threatening bleeding complications (e.g., intracranial hemorrhage or severe trauma after a car accident).2,5 The primary endpoint, the degree of reversal of the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran achieved by idarucizumab within four hours, was measured by diluted thrombin time (dTT) and ecarin clotting time (ECT).2

The study is the first of its kind in patients, and has been underway since May 2014, enrolling up to 500 patients in more than 35 countries.5,6

About idarucizumab (Praxbind®)

Idarucizumab is a humanized antibody fragment, or Fab, designed as a specific reversal agent to dabigatran.7 Idarucizumab binds specifically to dabigatran molecules only, neutralizing their anticoagulant effect without interfering with the coagulation cascade.2,7

In the EU and U.S., idarucizumab is now indicated for patients treated with dabigatran when reversal of the anticoagulant effects of dabigatran is needed:3,4

  • For urgent procedures / emergency surgery
  • In life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding

Regulatory reviews and submissions in other countries are ongoing. Boehringer Ingelheim plans to submit idarucizumab in all countries where dabigatran is licensed.8

About dabigatran etexilate (Pradaxa®)

Clinical experience of dabigatran equates to over 5 million patient-years in all licensed indications worldwide. Dabigatran has been in the market for more than 7 years and is approved in over 100 countries.8

Currently approved indications for dabigatran are:9,10

  • Prevention of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation and a risk factor for stroke
  • Primary prevention of venous thromboembolic events in patients undergoing elective total hip replacement surgery or total knee replacement surgery
  • Treatment of DVT and PE and the prevention of recurrent DVT and recurrent PE in adults

Dabigatran, a direct thrombin inhibitor (DTI), was the first widely approved drug in a new generation of direct oral anticoagulants, available to target a high unmet medical need in the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic thromboembolic diseases.9-11 Potent antithrombotic effects are achieved with direct thrombin inhibitors by specifically blocking the activity of thrombin, the central enzyme in the process responsible for clot (thrombus) formation.12 In contrast to vitamin K antagonists, which variably act via different coagulation factors, dabigatran provides effective, predictable and reproducible anticoagulation with a low potential for drug-drug interactions and no drug-food interactions, without the need for routine coagulation monitoring or mandatory dose adjustment.11,13

Dabigatran is the only novel oral anticoagulant with an approved reversal agent. Praxbind® (idarucizumab) is approved in the European Union and U.S. for adult patients treated with Pradaxa® who require rapid reversal of its anticoagulant effects prior to urgent procedures/emergency surgery or in life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding.3,4

About Boehringer Ingelheim 

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates globally through 145 affiliates and a total of some 47,500 employees. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.
Social responsibility is an important element of the corporate culture at Boehringer Ingelheim. This includes worldwide involvement in social projects through, for example, the initiative “Making More Health” while also caring for employees. Respect, equal opportunity and reconciling career and family form the foundation of mutual cooperation. The company also focuses on environmental protection and sustainability in everything it does.

In 2015, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 14.8 billion euros. R&D expenditure corresponds to 20.3 percent of net sales.

  1. Pollack CV, et al. Idarucizumab for Dabigatran Reversal: Updated Results of the RE-VERSE AD Study. Presented on 15 November at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions 2016, New Orleans, Louisiana.
  2. Pollack CV, et al. Design and rationale for RE-VERSE AD: A phase 3 study of idarucizumab, a specific reversal agent for dabigatran. Thromb Haemost. 2015;114(1):198-205.
  3. Idarucizumab European Summary of Product Characteristics, 2016.
  4. Idarucizumab US Prescribing Information 2015.
  5. Pollack CV, et al. Idarucizumab for Reversal of the Anticoagulant Effects of Dabigatran in Patients in an Emergency Setting of Major Bleeding, Urgent Surgery, or Interventions. 1130M-05. Presented on 2 April 2016 at the American College of Cardiology 65th Annual Scientific Session and Expo, Chicago.
  6. Boehringer Ingelheim Press Release – 22 May 2014. Antidote for rapid reversal of Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate) progresses into next stage of clinical investigation with study in patients. http://bit.ly/1gmHwVG. Last accessed November 2016.
  7. Schiele F, et al. A specific antidote for dabigatran: functional and structural characterization. Blood. 2013;121(18):3554-3562.
  8. Boehringer Ingelheim Data on File.
  9. Pradaxa® US Prescribing Information, 2015.
  10. Pradaxa® European Summary of Product Characteristics, 2016.
  11. Stangier J. Clinical pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the oral direct thrombin inhibitor dabigatran etexilate. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2008;47(5):285-295.
  12. Di Nisio M, et al. Direct thrombin inhibitors. N Engl J Med. 2005;353:1028-1040.
  13. Stangier J, et al. Pharmacokinetic Profile of the Oral Direct Thrombin Inhibitor Dabigatran Etexilate in Healthy Volunteers and Patients Undergoing Total Hip Replacement. J Clin Pharmacol. 2005;45:555-563.

Prices for Generic Heart Failure Drugs Vary Widely 

Prices for generic drugs to treat heart failure can vary so widely that uninsured patients may not be able to afford them, according to preliminary research presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2016.

Researchers surveyed 175 pharmacies in the greater St. Louis area encompassing eastern Missouri and neighboring Illinois to assess how much they charged uninsured customers for three generic medicines used to treat the heart-pumping problem known as heart failure: digoxin, lisinopril and carvedilol.

Researchers found that the combined cash price for the three drugs for 30 days ranged from:

  • $20.19 to $256.77 for the low doses of the drugs, with a median price of $67.98; and
  • $12.00 to $397.58 for the high doses of the drugs, with a median price of $70.68. 
  • Similar data were obtained for 90-day supplies.

“The idea for the study originated with one of our patients, a 25-year-old man with heart failure, who called the office and said he could not afford to fill a prescription for digoxin,” said Paul J. Hauptman, MD, study senior author and professor of medicine and a cardiologist specializing in the care of patients with heart failure at Saint Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri. “When I found out that a month’s supply was going to cost him $100, I couldn’t believe it. Like me, I think a lot of doctors assume that if you’re writing a prescription for a generic drug that it will be affordable — and that’s not necessarily the case.”

The study did not find a link between price and type of pharmacy, or median income associated with the zip code in which the pharmacy is located. Surprisingly, two major pharmacy chains did not have consistent pricing across their own stores.

Hauptman added that it is common for patients with heart failure to take five or six medicines to treat the condition, making it even more difficult for patients to get the lowest combined price of the drugs they need.

“It’s not reasonable to expect patients who are sick and of limited financial means to call or visit half a dozen pharmacies to get the best price,” he said. “What is more likely to happen is that patients visit a pharmacy and find out that the drug is too expensive, so they don’t fill the prescription and therefore do not garner benefit from guideline-directed medical therapy.”

Since a greater understanding of pricing practices at the retail pharmacy level is required, the researchers said their study should be replicated across other parts of the country and with different generic drugs to treat other medical conditions.

Hauptman said he would expect the results of such studies to be similar. “With heart failure, we have a chronic condition that affects millions of people and usually requires treatment with several drugs. Why would it be different for other conditions?”

The results of these analyses may have significant policy implications given the potential impact on costs borne by patients and adverse outcomes if generic medications are no longer affordable for vulnerable patients who are uninsured or underinsured.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million Americans are living with heart failure today. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons people age 65 and older go into the hospital.

Co-authors are Zackary D. Goff, BS; Andrija Vidic, DO; John T Chibnall, PhD, and Barry Bleske, PharmD. Author disclosures are on the abstract.

Poor Sleep May Increase Risk for Irregular Heart Rhythms

Disruptions in sleep may be raising your risks of atrial fibrillation (AF), according to preliminary research presented at the AHA Scientific Sessions 2016.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a known risk for atrial fibrillation, which can lead to strokes, heart failure, and other heart-related complications. But whether there is a relationship between disrupted sleep and atrial fibrillation, even when there is no sleep apnea, is unclear.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco examined three sources of data — each using a different approach — to isolate and confirm the effects of poor sleep on atrial fibrillation. Their analyses of these studies showed that:

  • disrupted sleep, including insomnia, may be independently associated with atrial fibrillation;
  • people who reported frequent night-time awakening had about a 26 percent higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to those who didn’t wake up a lot; and
  • people diagnosed with insomnia had a 29 percent higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared to those without insomnia.

Insomnia meant having trouble falling asleep, not getting enough sleep, or having poor sleep.

“The idea that these three studies gave us consistent results was exciting,” said lead study author Matt Christensen, currently a fourth-year medical student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Past research has shown a link between poor sleep among people who already had AF. But this study focused on people whose pre-existing sleep disruptions were associated with developing AF later in life.

The data sources included the Health eHeart Study — an internet-based cross-sectional study of more than 4,600 people; the Cardiovascular Health Study — an 11-year longitudinal study of just over 5,700 people, of which almost 1,600 (28 percent) developed AF; and the California Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, a hospital-based database spanning five years and covering almost 14 million patients.

In all three studies, researchers adjusted for the effects of obstructive sleep apnea and AF risk factors that might also be related to sleep. Some of those factors were age, sex, race, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and smoking.

Diving deeper into sleep patterns and AF

In a separate analysis, the same researchers reviewed a subset of the Cardiovascular Health Study to understand the effect of sleep disruptions during different sleep phases without obstructive sleep apnea on AF risks.

The analysis showed that having less rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep than other sleep phases during the night is linked to higher chances of developing atrial fibrillation.

“By examining the actual characteristics of sleep, such as how much REM sleep you get, it points us toward a more plausible mechanism. There could be something particular about how sleep impacts the autonomic nervous system,” Christensen said. The autonomic nervous system plays a major role in controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

Another possible explanation for the link between sleep disruptions and atrial fibrillation is that frequent waking puts extra stress on the heart’s chambers, said Christensen. Participants in this analysis were also enrolled in the Sleep Heart Health Study. They had a formal sleep study to objectively measure sleep quality. That’s another element which strengthened the study’s conclusions, said Christensen, as it didn’t rely on self-reported data.

In this analysis, 1,131 people (average age 77) participated in a study with almost 10 years of follow-up.

Researchers measured how long participants slept, how well they slept, how long it took to fall asleep and the patterns of sleep (i.e., how much time was spent in rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep versus non-REM sleep). Then they analyzed the sleep disruptions’ effects to control the effects of age, sex, race, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other risk factors.

Study authors say the exact link between sleep and how AF develops is still a mystery, but we are getting closer to a clear picture.

“Ultimately, even without a clear understanding of the responsible mechanisms, we believe these findings suggest that strategies to enhance sleep quality, such as incorporating known techniques to improve sleep hygiene, may help prevent this important arrhythmia,” said senior author of both abstracts Gregory Marcus, MD, MAS, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

Poor sleep is a known culprit for other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. Therefore, it’s important to know how to get a good night’s rest. Getting enough physical activity, avoiding too much caffeine, and having an evening routine are good starting tips for sound slumber. 

Co-authors are Matthew Christensen, BS; Shalini Dixit, MD; Thomas Dewland, MD; Isaac Whitman, MD; Gregory Nah, MA; Eric Vittinghoff, PhD; Kenneth Mukamal, MD, MPH; Susan Redline, MD, MPH; John Robbins, MD, MHS; Anne Newman, MD, MPH; Sanjay Patel, MD; Jared Magnani, MD; Bruce Psaty, MD, PhD; Jeffrey Olgin, MD; Mark Pletcher, MD, MPH; and Susan Heckbert, MD, PhD. Author disclosures are on the abstract.

This study is funded in part by the Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Harvard Geneticist Gets American Heart Association Award for Identifying Molecular Basis for Inherited Heart Failure 

The American Heart Association presented its newest science honor, the Joseph A. Vita Award, to Christine Seidman, MD, of Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, “for her laboratory’s transformative achievements in identifying the molecular basis for inherited forms of heart failure including, but not limited to, hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy.”

Seidman received the award on November 13th during the opening session of the AHA Scientific Sessions 2016. Association President Steven Houser, PhD, of Temple University in Philadelphia presented the award, a citation and honorarium. 

“During the last five years, Dr. Seidman and her associates identified titin as the most common cause of inherited dilated cardiomyopathy, and used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to define the mechanism by which the mutations disrupt sarcomere function,” Houser said in making the presentation.

Seidman and her colleagues also have shown that allele-specific silencing and small molecule inhibitors can suppress hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in mice, AHA’s president said. “These studies, along with other ongoing work in Dr. Seidman’s laboratory, may lead to the development of personalized treatments of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and inherited forms of dilated cardiomyopathy — two of the most common lethal forms of inherited heart disease in humans,” Houser said.

The AHA established the Vita award in 2015 to honor the late Joseph A. Vita, MD, an accomplished clinical researcher in vascular biology who at the time of his unexpected death in 2014 was serving as founding editor-in-chief of the Association’s newest scientific publication, The Journal of the American Heart Association. 

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