Collaborative Research Feature of 46th Annual Louis F. Bishop Lecture

Collaborative research and the global nature of cardiovascular disease was the topic of the 46th Annual Louis F. Bishop Lecture presented Saturday by Robert A. Harrington, MD, of Stanford University.

His lecture, “25 Years of Acute Coronary Syndromes: A Paradigm for Collaborative Research and Training the Next Generation,” highlighted the most important advancements of the past quarter century in cardiovascular medicine, and offered a cautionary but optimistic picture of the current state of treatment for ischemic heart disease.

“There has been progress and improvement in outcomes in regard to overall deaths, but still much remains to be done,” he said, adding that ischemic heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide and is the leading cause of death on every continent but Africa. “This is really a global disease.”

Given the global problem of cardiovascular disease today, particularly in developing countries, it follows that collaboration in research and treatment should be global as well, he said. “A lot of collaborators across the globe have contributed to our understanding of acute coronary disease. The ability to learn from each other is critical, and our interests overlap,” he explained.

Harrington then touched on the newest developments in cardiovascular research, sharing his belief that clinical trials have evolved over time to become too unwieldy and far too complex. “We need to think about trials in a different way, to simplify,” he explained. He singled out the streamlined approach of the Uppsala Clinical Research Center in Sweden for its pioneering, registry-based, randomized trials, and he urged others to replicate the model.

He also pointed to the increasing importance of technology in trials, and he hailed the joint project between Stanford University and Apple that has already signed up tens of thousands of people to participate in a cardiovascular study – within days of being introduced. The Apple app, known as ResearchKit, was unveiled March 9, and allows doctors to find trial participants at an unprecedented rate. “This is the new way of doing research,” Harrington said. “When you can enroll 24,000 patients in a few days, that’s disruptive.”

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Clinical Topics: Acute Coronary Syndromes

Keywords: Acute Coronary Syndrome, Biomedical Research, Coronary Artery Disease, Registries, Research, ACC Annual Scientific Session

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