NHLBI issues $11.6M grant to help diagnose HF among MI survivors

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A five-year $11.6 million contract from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will focus on research pertaining to a blood test that may have the ability to diagnose MI survivors who suffer from heart failure (HF).

Researchers will study peptides from the extracellular matrix to determine which are active in plasma samples. The samples will be taken from mice within one week of an induced heart attack using mass spectrometry equipment.

"Over the last 40 years we have drastically improved short-term survival after heart attacks, but with this study we hope to identify the three out of 10 patients who need more intensive treatment," said Merry L. Lindsey, PhD, associate professor of medicine and principal investigator of the NHLBI Proteomics Center. "We will do this by studying protein fragments that are released into the bloodstream following heart attacks."

According to the UT Health Science Center, researchers will then evaluate each of the fragments for biological activity. Additionally, Gregg Fields, PhD, and Robert A. Welch, PhD, of the center will study protein compositions and generate synthetic peptides used to test for biological activity.

"The extracellular matrix peptides that are identified as relevant in the basic laboratory will then be measured in human blood samples to see if individual peptides can be used to predict outcomes in patients that have had a heart attack," said the project's co-investigator Richard A. Lange, MD, vice chair in the department of medicine at UT.