PREDICT HEART ATTACKS: STUDY Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death worldwide. Bypass surgery or stent placement is often recommended in people with certain degrees of coronary arterial narrowing, or stenosis, but recent studies have shown that many of these patients do just as well with medical therapy. A key factor in treatment decisions is the hemodynamic significance of the lesion, meaning the degree to which the lesion is blocking blood from getting to areas of the heart.

But now, a new study, which has appeared online in the journal Radiology, has shown that noninvasive CT angiography and stress tests can help predict which patients are likely to suffer a heart attack or other adverse cardiovascular event.

‘Previous studies show that a lesion is hemodynamically significant if there is a significant blood pressure drop corresponding to a big reduction in blood flow across the stenosis,’ said study author João Lima, MD, from Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine in Baltimore. ‘If plaque has those characteristics, the patient should be targeted for intervention, be it with a stent or downstream bypass surgery.’

A combination of invasive coronary angiography (ICA) and stress tests with single photon emission tomography (SPECT) myocardial imaging has been the gold standard for making these determinations, with ICA showing the blockages and SPECT the perfusion, or penetration of the blood into the tissue. However, ICA requires the use of a catheter that is threaded from a puncture point in the groin all the way up to the heart.

‘Invasive angiography is generally safe, but it can cause vascular problems in a significant number of patients, most commonly at site of the puncture,’ said Dr Lima. ‘In rare cases, it can cause strokes or heart attacks. These risks are not trivial.’

Scottish universities collaborate on drug discovery using stem cell technology

Research teams based at the Universities of Dundee and Edinburgh are looking to partner

The National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC) at the University of Dundee and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) at the University of Edinburgh have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that commits them to work more closely together as they strive to translate novel biological discoveries into new stem cell therapies.

Regenerative medicine therapies to treat a range of debilitating diseases (including blindness, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and many others) are actively being developed around the world. Many of them are based on one of two approaches: implantation of stem- cell-derived cells or the use of drugs to selectively activate and mobilise the body’s own stem cells in order to replace damaged or diseased tissues. Understanding the stem cells in tissues and their supporting environment (the stem cell `niche’) is critical to both approaches.

Finding new drugs which can activate endogenous regenerative pathways requires the development of cell-based assays that are able to reproduce the complex behaviour (the `phenotype’) of the cells and tissues in patients. The National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC) at the University of Dundee specialises in developing such complex assays so they can be systematically screened using large libraries of drug-like molecules to uncover agents that can alter cell and tissue behaviour.

Close collaboration between the two centres, which together represent government investment amounting to around £35million, will allow novel biological discoveries from CRM to benefit from the expertise and industrial drug screening infrastructure provided by the NPSC, leading to the start-points for new therapies. An in-depth understanding of cell and tissue function will facilitate the search to find molecules that improve key tissue regeneration processes that could eventually be used as drugs for regenerative repair.


with the pharmaceutical industry to better understand the biological processes that could allow the development of new drugs to support tissue regeneration or repair.


Alliance Healthcare – the UK’s leading distributorand wholesaler of pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare products.

Our business was founded by local pharmacists, to support community pharmacy. Seventy years on, our commitment remains the same, but the healthcare environment we work in is changing quickly. That’s why, using our expertise and working in partnership with pharmacy, hospitals and dispensing doctors, we’re focused on developing and delivering integrated solutions and innovations, to improve healthcare in our communities and help your business grow.

With end-to-end involvement right across the supply chain, from factory gate to patient and every point in between, we are committed to using our extensive network and years of expertise to deliver, not only medicines, but added-value services to improve healthcare in our communities.

To find out more about the solutions we can offer, visit our website or call us on 020 8391 2323.

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