New study to identify high-risk individuals of MI, stroke before occurrence
BG Medicine, on behalf of the High-Risk Plaque (HRP) Initiative, has launched the BioImage study, designed to discover new blood tests and to optimize non-invasive imaging of atherosclerosis to identify and characterize individuals that are at high-risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke.

The BioImage study is the next phase of the HRP Initiative, an industry-funded joint research and development effort to advance the understanding, recognition and management of HRP, according to the Waltham, Mass.-based BG Medicine.

BG Medicine said the BioImage study is designed to identify individuals with undetected but high-risk atherosclerosis in the months or years before a myocardial infarction (MI), or heart attack, or stroke occurs, by taking advantage of biomedical imaging technologies and molecular medicine. The approach integrates a set of clinical measurements that may reliably and reproducibly predict those who are most at risk of heart attack or stroke associated with HRP, who would benefit from innovative therapies, the company said.

Participants in the BioImage Study will have physical measurements taken (such as, height, weight, blood pressure and waist/hip circumferences) and blood samples drawn for a number of advanced molecular analyses. Many of the participants also will undergo procedures to capture images of their hearts and cardiovascular systems. Based on the data gathered, the HRP Initiative will work to discover and validate blood biomarkers that correlate with the imaging data, and that are predictive of future heart attack and stroke associated with HRP.

Together with BG Medicine, collaborative partners including Merck, AstraZeneca, Philips, and several members of academia have joined the HRP Initiative. The initiative was formed with the shared goal to address atherosclerosis and its associated life-threatening consequences of heart attack and stroke, according to the company. The current group of HRP Partners is seeking additional companies to collaborate in the HRP Initiative, BG Medicine said.