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Sigma-Aldrich® Receives National Institutes of Health Funding for Cardiovascular Disease Research


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Sigma-Aldrich® announced it has entered into an agreement with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health, and Boston University (BU) to develop methods to measure several potential biomarkers of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) using plasma samples from the NHLBI’s Framingham Heart Study (FHS), one of the most prestigious clinical studies in medicine. Funding for the project is provided by the NHLBI to Sigma-Aldrich under a research subaward agreement with BU.

The FHS began in 1948 as a study of more than 5,000 residents of Framingham, Massachusetts, to identify the factors that increase the risk for CVD. Since then, it has expanded to include over 14,000 participants from three generations within families. Using the results of FHS, researchers have identified a host of risk factors, including high blood cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and obesity. The FHS is funded by the NHLBI and conducted in collaboration with BU's School of Medicine and School of Public Health.

Sigma® Life Science, a biological products and services business of Sigma-Aldrich, plans to work with NHLBI and BU to provide for the analysis of plasma samples from 7,000 participants to investigate 180 potential biomarkers for CVD. Over the course of this five-year project, Sigma Life Science expects to develop antibody reagents for each identified target biomarker and incorporate the reagents into a multiplexed, high-throughput platform to measure the proteins of interest.

“Through this project, Sigma Life Science, the NHLBI and BU are furthering insight into a number of important CVD targets,” said Dave Smoller, President of Sigma-Aldrich’s Research Biotech Business Unit.”

Smoller  continues, “By embarking on this exciting effort, we believe we will help to develop the next generation of biomarker technologies for life science research and therapeutic applications, and provide greater understanding into the genetics and biological pathways of heart disease. The project is expected to facilitate the development of diagnostic tools for the early detection and prevention of CVD, as well as therapies for early treatment. We are hopeful that establishing valid surrogate biomarkers will also be useful in the development of more individualized treatments for patients. ”

The new project is part of a major FHS initiative called the Systems Approach to Biomarker Research in Cardiovascular Disease (SABRe CVD), which expects to identify and validate new CVD biomarkers, which in turn could ultimately lead to the development of blood tests to identify individuals at high risk of heart disease and stroke.

Only information from FHS participants who have consented to sharing their specimens and data for genetic research will be used, and no shared information will be attributed to a specific participant to protect participants' privacy. Data from these studies will be accessible to other scientists through dbGAP (Database for Genotype and Phenotype), in accordance with data-sharing policies.

“We believe this research will accelerate the development of new diagnostics and treatments for common life-threatening conditions,” said Karen Antman, M.D., Dean of Boston University School of Medicine. “Our faculty takes great pride in being part of this exciting research which may improve the lives of millions of people globally for the better,” she added.
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