The Medical Technology Blog

Today’s post on the Medical Technology Blog come from Medical Industry Week, Espicom’s current business publication on the medical industry, please read on…

Researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have discovered a possible new blood test to help diagnose heart attacks.

Featured within the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, the investigators provided details of a large protein known as cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C), which is released to the blood following a heart attack. Senior author, Dr Sakthivel Sadayappan, believes this could potentially become the basis for a new test, used in conjunction with other blood tests, to help diagnose heart attacks, however, additional studies will be necessary to establish cMyBP-C as a true biomarker for heart attacks.

Between 60 and 70 per cent of all patients who complain of chest pain do not have heart attacks. Many of these patients are admitted to the hospital, at considerable time and expense, until a heart attack is definitively ruled out. An electrocardiogram can diagnose major heart attacks, but not minor ones. There are also blood tests for various proteins associated with heart attacks, but most of these proteins are not specific to the heart. Elevated levels could indicate a problem other than a heart attack, such as a muscle injury. Only one protein now used in blood tests, called cardiac troponin-I, is specific to the heart, however, it takes at least four to six hours for this protein to show up in the blood following a heart attack.

 The Loyola study is the first to find that cMyBP-C is associated with heart attacks. The researchers evaluated blood samples from heart attack patients, and also evaluated rats that had experienced heart attacks. They found that in both humans and rats, cMyBP-C was significantly elevated following heart attacks. cMyBP-C is a large assembly protein that stabilises heart muscle structure and regulates cardiac function. During a heart attack, a coronary artery is blocked, and heart muscle cells begin to die due to lack of blood flow and oxygen. As heart cells die, cMyPB-C breaks into fragments and is released into the blood. Future studies would determine the time course of release, peak concentrations and half life in the circulatory system. Sadayappan holds a provisional patent to determine the risk factors associated with cMyBP-C degradation and release into human body fluid.

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