Cardiac Biomarkers Renew Hope in Heart Health This American Heart Month

By Kevin Hrusovsky, President, Chairman and CEO Quanterix

February often makes us reflect upon our hearts. For some, it’s the trials and tribulations of love, with Valentine’s Day just recently passing us by. However, for many others, battles with the heart have much graver consequences, with heart disease remaining the leading cause of death worldwide.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 17.9 million people succumb to cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and strokes, each year. Of this number, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report as many as 610,000 people die annually of heart disease in the United States alone, and, every year, more than 730,000 Americans have a heart attack.

Our nation’s struggle with cardiological diseases is nothing new. In fact, the country’s fight with the condition was the stimulus behind the creation of American Heart Month, a federally-designated event that has taken place each February since 1964. At that time, more than half the deaths in the United States were due to cardiovascular disease.

Decades later, heart-related conditions remain among the most devastating diseases we face as a global community. But there is light in the darkness. Through critical advances in research and technological innovation, we’re now detecting these diseases earlier, less invasively, and with more personalized approaches than was possible just a few years ago.  

At Quanterix, we firmly believe in the promise of biomarkers for advancing the future of heart health. To this end, we have several Simoa cardiology assays available for scientific research capable of detecting key cardiac biomarkers, such as troponin, at ultra-low levels. We also have a variety of lab services available to researchers through our Simoa Accelerator Lab that are spurring the creation of custom assays and new biomarker research to further advance the field. Through these developments, we’re enabling scientists, researchers, and academics to identify signs of a major, adverse cardiovascular event or the development of heart failure at its earliest stages – paving the way for a future where heart attacks can be detected before they even begin.

This was also a key theme at our 2017 Powering Precision Health Summit, which took place this past October in Cambridge, MA. The summit brought together some of the industry’s leading minds across numerous therapeutic categories to share new research, debate key questions plaguing the industry, and collectively weigh in on how to move our community toward a more personalized and preventative health care paradigm.

We were honored to have some of the top scientific minds within the cardiology field join us at the summit, where they presented their latest research on cardiac biomarkers, sparking stimulating dialogues around the impact of personalized care on cardiological treatment. Among those visionaries and innovators were Jennifer Hall, Ph.D., Chief of The Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine for the American Heart Association; Milenko Tanasijevic, MD, MBA, Vice Chair for Clinical Pathology and Quality of the Pathology Department of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Director of the BWH Clinical Laboratories, and an Associate Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School; and Petr Jarolim, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Clinical Laboratories at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Clinical Chemistry Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Their presentations were truly inspiring, and American Heart Month reminds us of the importance and gravity of their research, and the research of many others working in this field today.

Among the major themes from the summit was the critical role proteins plays in enabling us to identify cardiovascular diseases, and we’re proud to be able to support efforts to detect and study tell-tale cardiac proteins with our flagship Simoa HD-1 instrument and recently-launched benchtop SR-X Ultra-Sensitive Biomarker Detection System.  The latter instrument, which became commercially available just last month, fills our hearts with promise for numerous therapeutic categories, including cardiological research, as its lower price tag and smaller form-factor opens the door for more researchers to access our highly-sensitive biomarker analysis technology. We’re also excited about the new capabilities that come with our SR-X, such as support for multiplexed detection of up to six biomarkers per sample, meaning researchers can study multiple biomarkers simultaneously, increasing throughput and accelerating discovery, while conserving precious samples.

We look forward to expanding our network of partners and collaborators through this commercial roll-out, and working side-by-side with the academic researchers, pharmaceutical corporations, and biotech companies using our technology to more accurately see and measure critical biomarkers indicative of heart disease, strokes, and other cardiovascular conditions.

2017 was an exciting year for personalized care, with the FDA approving 16 new personalized treatments, and there’s every indication this number will grow in 2018. It is our hope that, together, we can detect these conditions earlier, enabling more personalized treatments to come to market that can better manage cardiac conditions, with the hope of one day eradicating them altogether.

This is particularly important with cardiological diseases, which are so easily triggered by environmental factors, such as diet and exercise, and inherited genetics. While we can’t change our genes, we can certainly work to anticipate what they could send our way. Our ability to monitor biomarkers, especially in ways that are less invasive and expensive than before possible, is empowering the industry to combat these diseases more effectively, giving us renewed hope, and warmer hearts, this American Heart Month.

To learn more about our cardiology products and offerings, visit https://www.quanterix.com/therapeutic-areas/cardiology.