01:24am Saturday 21 October 2017

Clinical trials strive to find new treatments for heart aliments

“Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, can sometimes have no symptoms until you have a heart attack,” said Dr. Christie Ballantyne, professor and interim chief of cardiology and chief of the section of atherosclerosis and vascular medicine at BCM. “We are hoping to find ways to noninvasively assess the response to various therapies for atherosclerosis and other heart related ailments.”

The following studies are currently enrolling participants:

AIM HIGH in cholesterol study (MRI study)

Volunteers are needed for a cholesterol study to raise “good” cholesterol (HDL) while reducing “bad” (LDL) levels. The study, part of an international initiative called AIM HIGH (Atherothrombosis Intervention in Metabolic Syndrome with Low HDL/High Triglycerides and Impact on Global Health Outcomes), will evaluate the usefulness of a comprehensive solution for cholesterol patients by testing a refined version of the vitamin niacin, a known HDL booster, in conjunction with statins, which lower LDL. A low HDL level is the most common cholesterol problem found in people with heart disease.

Men or women with low HDL readings (less than 40 for men and less than 50 for women) are encouraged to enroll.

Prospective study participants can call the BCM Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at 713-798-3171 or e-mail ccdp@bmc.edu.

New formulation of fish oil to lower triglycerides

“Fish oil has been known to be helpful in lowering triglycerides, but it is actually a specific fatty acid known as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) found in the fish oil that is beneficial,” said Ballantyne, who is also with the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center. “We are testing the pure form of that fatty acid to understand how it affects triglycerides.”

Researchers are searching for men and women, over the age of 18 with high triglycerides, to participate in the study to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the investigational medication. Those who qualify will receive at no cost study-related medication, study-related physical examinations, study-related laboratory tests and counseling on a healthy diet and lifestyle.

To learn more about the qualifications for this research study call the BCM Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at 713-798-3171 or e-mail ccdp@bmc.edu.

KOWA carotid MRI study

People who have been diagnosed with atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries (thickening of the artery walls in your neck) are eligible to take part in a research study that will evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a new investigational drug that inhibits the enzyme that converts cholesterol into a form suitable for storage.

Those who are eligible to take part will receive study-related drugs and procedures, lab and ECG, physical exams, carotid ultrasound (if not recently performed) and MRI of the carotid arteries.

Contact the BCM Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at 713-798-3171 or e-mail ccdp@bmc.edu for more information.

Artery inflammation

Participants are being sought to take part in a study to determine the effects of an investigational drug on inflammation in the arteries.

PET (positron emission tomography) imaging will be used to examine inflammation in the arterial wall during treatment.

Men and women between 18 to 75 years old and who have a history of blockages in the arteries of their heart (coronary heart disease), previous stroke or poor circulation may qualify to participate.

For more information, or to see if you qualify, contact BCM Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at 713-798-3330 or e-mail ccdp@bmc.edu.

FIRST study

Researchers are evaluating the effect of adding a cholesterol drug to the current cholesterol treatment of people who also have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. Adding an investigational drug may help provide better cholesterol management and may help reduce the thickening of the carotid artery walls (an indicator of your risk for having a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular event). Researchers will use ultrasound to measure the carotid artery walls.

Participants must be 45 or older, have heart disease or at risk of heart disease and taking a statin such as Lipitor®, Zocor®, Crestor®, or Lescol® to manage cholesterol or are willing to begin taking Lipitor.

Contact the BCM Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at 713-798-3171 or e-mail ccdp@bmc.edu for more information.

Graciela Gutierrez713-798-4710

ggutierr@bcm.tmc.edu


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