AHA awards $2 million to cardiac research at top universities

The American Heart Association (AHA) announced May 19 that it will donate two $1 million research grants to support research on medications and high blood pressure.

The money will be awarded over five years to Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania, according to a statement from the AHA.

“[These] competitive research programs are pushing the boundaries of their respective disciplines by undertaking high-risk projects whose outcomes could revolutionize the treatment for new classes of blood pressure medications and our approaches for clinical trials in the era of precision medicine,” said Ivor Benjamin, MD, who chairs the AHA’s research committee.

Joseph Wu, MD, the director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute at Stanford University School of Medicine, is leading the research on medication. He plans to use information from stem cells to speed up the slow and expensive process of introducing a new drug to the market.

“Our project has tremendous potential significance for testing new drugs very efficiently compared to the traditional drug screening that the pharmaceutical industry has to go through—a process that has stagnated and become almost too costly to help patients,” Wu said.

The second research project, spearheaded by Garret FitzGerald, MD, a professor of medicine and systems pharmacology and translational therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, aims to improve blood pressure control over a 24-hour period.

“Given the increasing prevalence of high blood pressure in our aging population and in the developing world generally, this program promises to have a considerable impact on global health,” FitzGerald said.