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News Article | May 14, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

The prevalence of women with heart disease delivering babies increased by 24 percent from 2003-2012, report researchers. This jump, reported in the American Journal of Cardiology, may prompt greater awareness of heart disease in women of childbearing age and heighten individual screening of heart disease in pregnant patients. Heart disease is the most common cause of death among pregnant women in the United States and other developed countries. There remain significant gaps in understanding of the prevalence, trends, and outcomes of heart disease in pregnancy in the US population. Investigation of trends and outcomes in heart disease and pregnancy has been limited. In this study, researchers used the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project’s National Inpatient Sample to better determine the trends and relationship between women with heart disease and delivering babies. To do this, they studied existing heart conditions and outcomes using a large sample of women with heart disease (81,295) and without heart disease (39,894,032). “We learned that in addition to the high and growing prevalence of women with heart disease delivering babies, the reasons are mainly related to increases in women delivering babies with diseases such as cardiomyopathy, adult congenital heart disease, and pulmonary hypertension,” says lead author Kathleen Stergiopoulos, professor of medicine in Stony Brook University’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and a specialist in heart disease in women at the Stony Brook Heart Institute. The study also shows that major adverse cardiac events in pregnant women with heart disease increased by nearly 19 percent, and there is a significant and gradual increase in these events for women who have delivered babies and have heart disease. The most common events for women with heart disease were heart failure and arrhythmia. According to Stergiopoulos, while a maternal death is a rare event, the findings should affect clinical practices when caring for women with heart disease who are pregnant. She emphasizes that future strategies to mitigate risk in these women include individualized preconception counseling and heart disease risk stratification, meticulous pregnancy follow-up, and a coordinated approach to labor and delivery for those with heart disease that includes specialists from cardiology, maternal fetal medicine, obstetrical anesthesiology, and neonatology. Support for the research came from the American Heart Association and an American Medical Association Foundation Seed Grant.


Multicenter study shows AF ablation is safe and just as effective in patients with CHD compared to those with normal hearts PHILADELPHIA--Congenital heart disease (CHD) includes a range of defects that occur in the heart which patients are born with, such as a hole in the heart's wall, a leaky valve or even an inversion in the heart's orientation. CHD was once a severe condition often resulting in early death, but now, more and more CHD patients are living long and healthy lives. Therefore, as this population grows, so does the number of patients who are treated for other complications of their disease, such as early onset atrial fibrillation (AF), a quivering or irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other complications. AF is often treated with a catheter ablation, a minimally invasive procedure in which the areas of the heart causing the irregularity are cauterized, but until now, there was limited data to support the safety and efficacy of treating CHD patients with an AF ablation. In a new study presented today at the Heart Rhythm Society's 38th Annual Scientific Session in Chicago, researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found that CHD patients--even with complex defects--can safely undergo ablation for AF, with similar success rates as patients with normal hearts. "Treatment for atrial fibrillation is critical, whether the patient has a normal heart or whether they have complex congenital heart disease," said the study's presenter Jackson J. Liang, DO, a third-year cardiovascular disease fellow in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "In fact, atrial fibrillation can be especially detrimental in patients with complex congenital heart disease since they may be more reliant on the "atrial kick" provided during sinus rhythm. Unfortunately for some CHD patients, AF ablation may be more challenging due to the presence of complex anatomy, and the optimal ablation strategy for these patients remains to be defined." In this multicenter study, researchers performed a retrospective analysis of 69 CHD patients who underwent AF ablation, by collecting data from Penn, University of Colorado, University of California San Francisco, and Texas Cardiac Arrhythmia Institute at St. David's Medical Center. Researchers looked at those who underwent AF ablation for paroxysmal (intermittent) or persistent AF between 2008 and 2016. They identified the type of CHD, and tracked the ablation strategy - pulmonary vein isolation (PVI), PVI with additional ablation, or non-PV ablation only. "Some physicians may not be aware that catheter ablation can be performed to treat atrial fibrillation in patients with congenital heart disease, and instead they may prescribe anti-arrhythmic medications," said David Frankel, MD, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Penn. "We hope this study will increase awareness of catheter ablation as a viable treatment option for atrial fibrillation in these patients." Of the 69 patients, 34 had paroxysmal AF and 25 had complex CHD. The team defined complete success as freedom from recurrent AF for one year off antiarrhythmic medications, and partial success as freedom from AF recurrences for one year on previously ineffective anti-arrhythmic medications. At one year, researchers concluded that 53 percent of the patients had complete success with an additional 13 percent experiencing partial success. 92 percent of patients underwent a PVI approach, while seven percent had a non-PVI ablation alone. "We also found that 12 patients needed a repeat ablation within the first year, but most notably, there were no major procedural complications identified and only five minor complications, which is on par with rates in non-CHD patients," said Liang. "While PVI should remain the cornerstone of ablation, an individualized approach utilizing pre-procedural imaging to help to define the anatomy is necessary to improve outcomes in patients with CHD." Researchers conclude that AF ablation in this complex population was safe and effective, with similar outcomes to those seen in non-CHD patients, despite anatomical differences. However, they noted that more research is needed to further define the challenges and optimal ablation strategies in CHD patients. Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise. The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year. The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine. Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PHILADELPHIA - Bacteria in the gut microbiome drive the formation of cerebral cavernous malformations (CCMs), clusters of dilated, thin-walled blood vessels in the brain that can cause stroke and seizures, according to new research published this week in Nature by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Led by Mark Kahn, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, the team's research suggests that altering the microbiome in CCM patients may be an effective therapy for this cerebrovascular disease. CCM disease, which occurs in about one in 100 to 200 people, can present in two forms. One is sporadic, accounting for 80 percent of cases, and is most frequent in older individuals. The remaining 20 percent are familial, inherited cases. In 2016, the Kahn lab discovered the molecular mechanism in endothelial cells that underlies the formation of CCMs. In the current Nature study, the team discovered that this molecular pathway is activated by TLR4, a receptor for the bacterial molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Activation of TLR4 on brain endothelial cells by LPS vastly accelerated CCM formation. Conversely, if TLR4 was removed from endothelial cells genetically, or if the mice were treated with drugs that block TLR4 function, CCM formation is prevented. Since TLR4 primarily responds to LPS from Gram-negative bacteria, Alan Tang, an MD-PhD student in the Kahn lab, proposed that bacteria from the animal's gut microbiome may drive CCM formation. To test this theory, he examined CCM formation in mice that were housed under germ-free conditions (in collaboration with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia through the PennCHOP Microbiome Program Core Facility) or treated with antibiotics to reduce the number of bacteria living in the gut. In both cases, CCM formation was dramatically reduced, demonstrating a key role for bacteria in the pathology of CCM disease. The team next sought evidence that bacterial LPS-TLR4 signaling might also support CCM formation in human patients. They worked with researchers at the University of New Mexico (UNM) and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who have studied several hundred patients who carry an identical mutation in one CCM gene but display a widely variable disease course. "Some of these patients experience severe stroke by the age of two and others have no symptoms over their lifetime," Kahn said. "What makes the disease outcome so variable?" Working with the team from UNM and UCSF, they discovered that genetic variations that raise the amount of TLR4 that is produced are associated with higher numbers of CCM lesions, suggesting that the key role for LPS-TLR4 signaling identified in mice is also present in humans. These studies identify an unexpected, direct link between the microbiome and a common cerebrovascular disease. "This suggests that treatments designed to block TLR4 signaling or alter the microbiome may be used to treat this disease," Kahn said. These studies were in part supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01HL094326, P01NS092521) and a PennCHOP Microbiome Program Pilot & Feasibility Award Grant. Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise. The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year. The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine. Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.


News Article | May 18, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Florida Hospital Tampa unveiled a new name for its Breast Care Center during a program that included community members, physicians and former patients. Earlier this spring, a generous $250,000 donation was presented by Tampa-based philanthropist and cancer survivor, Kay Meyer, to Florida Hospital Tampa. To honor this contribution, Florida Hospital Tampa has renamed its center the Kay Meyer Breast Care Center. Solely dedicated to breast care, the Kay Meyer Breast Care Center offers a comprehensive program focusing on breast cancer prevention, detection, treatment, and recovery. The staff, including board certified radiologists, are all highly specialized in the services they provide. State-of-the-art technology is available to patients, including digital (3D) mammography, computer-aided detection (CAD), and the newest addition, made possible by Meyer’s donation, a molecular breast imaging (MBI), called the LumaGem MBI system. This system can detect cancer in dense breast tissue that would not be decipherable in a mammogram. “One in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer over their lifetime. Based on those statistics, this gift will potentially save hundreds of lives in our center, by providing access to state-of-the-art detection and treatment equipment,” says Vivian Valdes, Clinical Manager of the Kay Meyer Breast Care Center. Care extends beyond detection at the Kay Meyer Breast Care Center. Genetic testing, stereotactic, ultrasound-guided and MRI-guided biopsies, and bone densitometry are all available to patients. A patient navigator guides patients through the many stages of treatment, and the breast cancer support group comforts and educates both patients and survivors. “The dedication and support that both Kay, and her husband, Fred Meyer, have shown to Florida Hospital Tampa speaks volumes of their commitment towards improving the health and wellness of our patients. We are grateful for this gift and know it will have a direct impact on the lives of many women who entrust us with their care,” says Brian Adams, Florida Hospital Tampa President and CEO. “It’s an incredible honor to be able to make such an impact on women’s health in our community. Working together with Florida Hospital Tampa to bring the latest technology and the best medical care to the Breast Care Center is the first step of many,” remarked Kay Meyer. In addition to Kay’s donation, she has also established a committee of women in conjunction with the hospital’s Foundation, called the Florida Hospital Tampa Women of Influence. Through this group, women throughout Tampa Bay dedicated to improving the lives of the women, children and families, are invited to join and focus on impacting patient programs and services, technology, etc., on behalf of the hospital. “What is so exciting about this group, is that we all have a voice and will collectively decide where we can make the best impact on patients at Florida Hospital Tampa, all in the name of helping to deliver innovative health care right here in our own community,” says Meyer. Appointments for the Kay Meyer Breast Care Center can be made directly by calling, (813) 615-7120. Walk-ins are always welcome, including those without a prescription. Additional information is available at FHTampa.org. To find out more on the Florida Hospital Tampa Women of Influence, visit FHTampa.org/Foundation or contact Jan Berry, Florida Hospital Tampa Foundation Executive Director, at Jan.Berry(at)ahss(dot)org or (813) 615-7866. About Florida Hospital Tampa Florida Hospital Tampa is a not-for-profit 527-bed tertiary hospital specializing in Digestive Health, Cardiovascular Medicine, Neuroscience, Orthopedics, Women’s Services, Pediatrics, Oncology, Endocrinology, Bariatrics, Wound Healing, Sleep Medicine and General Surgery, including minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures. Also located at Florida Hospital Tampa is the renowned Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, a recognized leader in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and leading-edge research. The recent addition of the Doc1st ER shows that Florida Hospital Tampa is committed to providing compassionate and quality healthcare. Part of the Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital is a leading health network comprised of 26 hospitals throughout the state. For more information, visit http://www.FHTampa.org.


"We have demonstrated for the first time that a naturally-occurring inflammatory substance known as LTB is elevated in both animal models of lymphedema as well as human patients with lymphedema and that elevated LTB is associated with tissue inflammation and impaired lymphatic function," said Stanley Rockson, MD, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stanford University and Lead Investigator for ULTRA.  "Lymphedema is a devastating disorder and an approved pharmacologic therapy is urgently needed.  I believe that LTB is a promising drug target for the treatment of lymphedema, and I'm pleased to be the lead investigator for the ULTRA clinical study of ubenimex in secondary lymphedema.  ULTRA will pave the way for investigating ubenimex in other types of lymphedema, including upper extremity and primary lymphedema." About LTB and Ubenimex Leukotriene B (LTB ) is a naturally-occurring inflammatory substance known to be elevated in both preclinical models of secondary lymphedema as well as human lymphedema disease.  Elevated LTB causes inflammation resulting in tissue inflammation and impaired lymphatic function.  Targeted pharmacologic inhibition of LTB promotes lymphatic repair and reverses lymphedema disease in treated animals. Ubenimex is a well-characterized, oral, small-molecule, inhibitor of leukotriene A hydrolase (LTA H), the enzyme responsible for the formation of the pro-inflammatory mediator, LTB . Ubenimex is approved in Japan (brand name Bestatin™) as an adjunct to chemotherapy agents to extend survival and to maintain remission after treatment for acute non-lymphocytic leukemia in adults.  Ubenimex has been used for over 25 years in Japan and remains commercially available through Nippon Kayaku.  Ubenimex is not approved for any indication in the US or Europe. About Lymphedema Lymphedema can be either primary (hereditary) or secondary (caused by another disease or condition).  Primary lymphedema is caused by the absence of certain lymph vessels at birth or abnormalities in the lymphatic vessels and can be divided into three forms, depending on age of onset.  Secondary lymphedema usually develops as a result of a lymph vessel blockage or interruption that alters the flow of lymph through the lymphatic system and can develop from an infection, malignancy, surgery, scar tissue formation, trauma, radiation, or other cancer treatment.  Primary lymphedema and secondary lymphedema are large unmet medical needs, as both can be debilitating and negatively impact quality of life.  There is no approved pharmacologic treatment for lymphedema. About the ULTRA Phase 2 Study ULTRA is a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study of ubenimex in patients with secondary lymphedema of the lower limb(s).  Up to forty patients may be randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive ubenimex or matching placebo, administered orally for a total of 24 weeks.  The study will assess clinical, biomarker, histologic and patient-reported outcomes. About Eiger Eiger is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to bringing to market novel products for the treatment of rare diseases.  The company has built a diverse portfolio of well-characterized product candidates with the potential to address diseases for which the unmet medical need is high, the biology for treatment is clear, and for which an effective therapy is urgently needed. Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve substantial risks and uncertainties.  All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press release regarding our strategy, future operations, future financial position, future revenue, projected expenses, prospects, plans and objectives, intentions, beliefs and expectations of management are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements may be accompanied by such words as "anticipate," "believe," "could," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "intend," "may," "plan," "potential," "project," "target," "will" and other words and terms of similar meaning.  Examples of such statements include, but are not limited to, whether or not pegylated interferon lambda-1a or lonafarnib or ubenimex or exendin 9-39 may be further developed and approved, and whether promising earlier clinical study results will be repeated in larger, later clinical studies, statements relating to the availability of cash for Eiger's future operations, Eiger's ability to develop its drug candidates for potential commercialization, the timing of the commencement and number and completion of Phase 2 trials and whether the products can be successfully developed or commercialized.  Various important factors could cause actual results or events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements that Eiger makes, including the risks described in the "Risk Factors" sections in the Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three-month period ended March 31, 2017 and other periodic reports filed with the SEC by Eiger.  Eiger does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by law. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/eiger-announces-results-demonstrating-benefit-of-ubenimex-and-leukotriene-b4-ltb4-modulation-in-experimental-lymphedema-300459051.html


News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

(Reuters Health) - More than nine million people may miss out on cholesterol-lowering drugs that prevent heart attacks and strokes if doctors choose one set of medical guidelines over another, according to a new study. That's because the government-backed U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) set a higher threshold for use of the drugs, known as statins, than the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association (ACC/AHA). "I would say we’re still searching for the perfect guidelines," said lead author Michael Pencina, of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. The 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines recommend statins for people ages 40 to 75 with at least a 7.5 percent risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years. (The ACC/AHA cardiovascular risk estimator tool is available online here: http://bit.ly/2pPwoXh.) The ACC/AHA also recommends statins for people with cardiovascular disease, for diabetics between ages 40 and 75 and for adults with high levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The 2016 USPSTF recommendation endorses statins for people ages 40 to 75 with at least a 10 percent or greater risk of a heart attack or stroke over the next decade and at least one cardiovascular risk factor like diabetes or high blood pressure. Pencina told Reuters Health fewer people would be using statins under the more conservative USPSTF guidelines. "What we wanted to do is quantify the impact and look at what it means in terms of numbers." The researchers applied the recommendations to nationally representative data collected from 3,416 people without a history of cardiovascular disease between 2009 and 2014. Overall, 21.5 percent were already on statins to prevent heart attacks and strokes. An additional 24.3 percent would be on statins if all doctors followed the ACC/AHA guidelines, compared to an additional 15.8 percent if all doctors followed the USPSTF recommendation. The difference between the two guidelines represents about 9.3 million people in the United States, the researchers write in JAMA. Under the USPSTF guidelines, some diabetics would be excluded from statin use. More than half of those excluded would be middle-aged adults with a more than 30 percent average risk of a cardiovascular event over the next 30 years. "About one in three people are going to experience a cardiovascular event over the next 30 years," said Pencina. In a statement to Reuters Health, the USPSTF said its recommendations are based on the best available evidence about a preventive service's benefits and harms. "Because the USPSTF makes recommendations that are closely tied to the available evidence, we focused on recommending statins for the people who the evidence showed were most likely to benefit, though ultimately this decision should be made through a conversation between each patient and their doctor," the statement continued. In its review of evidence, the USPSTF focused on 19 trials involving a total of 71,344 people who had no history of cardiovascular disease. Overall, people were 14 percent less likely to die during the study period if they were taking statins than if they were taking a dummy pill or nothing at all. The risk of serious side effects from statins was also low. The USPSTF is always more conservative in its recommendations than professional organizations - not just for cholesterol, said Dr. Steve Nissen, chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. "Whether you treat or not treat is frankly something that should be a discussion between patient and physician," he told Reuters Health. "That’s how I do it." Nissen, who was not involved in the new study, said some entity should step in to clear up the confusion between the USPSTF, ACC/AHA and several other statin guidelines. "I’m not terribly happy to have multiple guidelines floating around out there," he said. Pencina said it's important for patients to be informed about their risk of cardiovascular disease and understand the risks and benefits of statins. "Both sets of guidelines - to their credit - recommend an informed decision between the patient and the clinician," he said. "Those are crucial."


A Finnish study coordinated by the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku shows that exposure to cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure, elevated serum LDL-cholesterol and smoking in childhood and adolescence, is associated with poorer learning ability and memory in middle age. With the aging population, cognitive deficits, such as difficulties in learning and memory, are becoming more common. Cardiovascular risk factors contribute to the occurrence of these deficits. Results from a longitudinal Finnish study show that the effects of cardiovascular risk factors on the brain begin already long before the occurrence of visible changes in cognitive performance. - Previous studies have focused on adulthood and old age, whereas this study brings novel information on the associations between cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive performance throughout the whole lifespan, says Senior Researcher Suvi Rovio from the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku. The results of this study can be exploited by turning the focus of prevention of the cardiovascular risk factors actively to children and adolescence in order to promote brain health in adulthood. High blood pressure, elevated serum cholesterol levels and smoking can be regulated through healthy lifestyle choices. The cognitive performance of over 2,000 participants was measured at the age of 34-49 years. The results showed that high blood pressure and serum LDL-cholesterol level measured in childhood and adolescence as well as smoking in adolescence were associated with poorer cognitive performance in midlife. This association remained regardless of the presence of such risk factors in adulthood. The difference in cognitive performance between those participants whose risk factor levels often exceeded the guideline values for cardiovascular risk factors and those always remaining within the guideline values was equivalent to the difference caused by six years of aging. This study is part of the ongoing national Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study coordinated by the Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Turku. Initially, 3,596 participants have been followed up repeatedly for 31 years for their cardiovascular risk factors from childhood to adulthood. The results were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in May 2017. Cardiovascular Risk Factors From Childhood and Midlife Cognitive Performance The Young Finns Study Suvi P. Rovio et al. Journal of the American College of Cardiology Volume 69, Issue 18, May 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.02.060


BOSTON & LISBON, Portugal--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Proterris, Inc., a clinical-development stage company focused on therapeutic applications of low-dose carbon monoxide, and Alfama, Inc. today announced the completion of a merger of the two companies that effectively creates the world’s dominant player in the field of carbon monoxide (CO) therapies. Proterris, which has a leading position in gaseous applications of CO, has acquired Alfama’s CO releasing molecule (“CORM”) assets, arguably the most extensive in the field. In connection with the asset acquisition, Proterris has acquired all of Alfama’s subsidiaries, including Alfama Lda. located near Lisbon, Portugal, which will be renamed Proterris (Portugal) Lda. In conjunction with the merger, Proterris will also implement a collaboration with Prof. Carlos Romão of the Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology (ITQB) of the New University of Lisbon (NOVA), one of the scientific pioneers and inventors of Aflama’s CORM assets, in order to further optimize CORM candidates for a variety of indications. Proterris looks to continue advancing its own gaseous Phase 2/3 trial in delayed graft function (DGF)prior to moving one of the CORM candidates into clinical trials, which the company aims to start in the next 18-24 months. “Alfama has discovered and developed unique families of CORMs which have demonstrated very potent anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective effects with very low toxicity potential,” said Jeffrey D. Wager, M.D., Chairman & CEO of Proterris. “Until now, achievement of such drug-like profiles for CORMs has eluded scientists and companies alike. Alfama’s CORM assets represent excellent candidates for drug development for those indications which are less amenable to therapy with CO gas. In addition, by establishing Proterris (Portugal) Lda., we are now well-positioned to pursue a variety of European partnering and fundraising activities in both the private and public sectors. This coincides very well with the Series A fundraising campaign which are launching with the closing of this merger.” Dr. Wager has designed and structured multiple cross-border life science transactions in the past, including a major Japanese spin-out involving both Asian and American investors, a European Union-based corporate venture capital fund investing in both Europe and the U.S., and a specialty pharma roll-up in Brazil involving private equity funds from both Latin America and the U.S. “The merger of Alfama with Proterris represents a very synergistic and strategic fit between two companies with common goals, and substantially enhances corporate value for both sets of shareholders,” commented Nuno Arantes-Oliveira, founding Chief Executive of Alfama. “We are very glad to make Alfama part of Proterris’ exceptional IP portfolio, an important step in our evolution towards bringing low-dose CO therapies to patients.” Celso Guedes de Carvalho, CEO of Portugal Ventures, one of Alfama’s largest shareholders, added, “This transaction demonstrates how supporting investments for the ‘long-haul’ – given the capital and time required in the biotech sector – allows breakthrough technologies to reach patients. With regard to Alfama, their story demonstrates that when the technology is truly ground-breaking and the team strong and resilient, it is worth the wait. We believe this merger, with support from Portugal Ventures, will significantly increase the international visibility of the growing Portuguese Life Science startup ecosystem.” The Proterris-Alfama proposition for CO therapy is validated by almost $23 million in funding for three Phase 2 clinical trials using low dose CO gas. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded these trials over the past five years for indications covered by patents licensed from a group of top U.S. universities or written by Proterris. About Alfama Alfama is the leading company in the development of Carbon Monoxide-Releasing Molecules (CORMs) for therapy. The company has produced hundreds of CORMs and obtained exceptional results in various animal models of chronic and acute human diseases. CORMs have the potential to expand CO-based therapy to a wide range of high-value indications, can be administered orally or intravenously, and offer a very attractive therapeutic window and safety profile. After acquiring hemoCORM Ltd of London, UK, Alfama came to control a diverse set of families of patents and patent applications on CORMs which together position the company as the undisputed leader in CORM technology. Alfama was founded in Portugal and received funding from venture capital agencies such as Portugal Ventures, along with private investors from the U.S., the U.K, Spain and Portugal. The Company assembled an international team of scientific and business leaders. Its founders included Roche scientist Werner Haas, New University of Lisbon Chemistry Professor Carlos Romão, Stan Kugell, its founding Chairman, and Nuno Arantes-Oliveira, its founding CEO. About Proterris Proterris, Inc. is a clinical-development stage company focused on therapeutic applications of low-dose carbon monoxide (CO). Leveraging CO’s demonstrated anti-fibrotic, anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective properties, Proterris is initially focused on developing CO for delayed graft function (DGF) in renal transplant recipients and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Other indications, including pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), are also being developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). CO has broad potential to significantly impact the lives of millions of patients suffering from a wide variety of both acute and chronic diseases. Proterris was founded on the pioneering science of Proterris co-founder Augustine M.K. Choi, M.D., who is Professor of Medicine and the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean at Weill Cornell Medicine and Provost for Medical Affairs at Cornell University; and David J. Pinsky, M.D., the J. Griswold Ruth M.D. & Margery Hopkins Ruth Professor of Internal Medicine, Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Director, Cardiovascular Center of the University of Michigan. Between them, Dr.’s Choi and Pinsky have generated an extensive body of mechanistic, translational and clinical research data, as well as a broad intellectual property portfolio on the therapeutic opportunities of CO for multiple diseases. For more information, please visit www.proterris.com.


News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

According to a new Finnish study, cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely related to risk of fatty liver. The research was conducted at the University of Turku, Finland, and shows that, despite the person's weight, achieving moderate cardiorespiratory fitness can protect from fatty liver. In the national Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, researchers measured the cardiorespiratory fitness of 463 Finns with a cycle ergometer exercise test and determined fatty liver with an ultrasound. The participants were 30-47 years of age. -The study revealed that cardiorespiratory fitness is inversely related to the risk of fatty liver - despite physical activity, smoking, alcohol use, serum lipids, insulin, glucose, and C-reactive protein. Importantly, the same results could be seen in participants who were obese, says Researcher Kristiina Pälve from Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine of the University of Turku. The research results are significant for public health: despite the person's weight, achieving a moderate level of cardiorespiratory fitness can protect from fatty liver. Fatty liver is a significant and expanding public health concern. It is related to several metabolic disturbances, increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. The research article was published in April in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal. Pälve KS, Pahkala K, Suomela E, Aatola H, Hulkkonen J, Juonala M, Lehtimäki T, Rönnemaa T, Viikari JS, Kähönen M, Hutri-Kähönen N, Telama R, Tammelin T, Raitakari OT.: Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Risk of Fatty Liver. The Young Finns Study. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2017 Apr 11. doi: 10.1111/MSS.0000000000001288. https:/ MD Kristiina Pälve, Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku tel. +358 2 333 7220, krsoma@utu.fi


News Article | April 6, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

The American Heart Association Precision Medicine Platform -- a global, secure data discovery platform, recently developed in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) -- is now open for use. Researchers, physicians, computational biologists, computer engineers and trainees from around the globe can leverage this cloud-based resource to access and analyze volumes of cardiovascular and stroke data to accelerate the care of patients at risk of the number one killer in the United States and a leading global health threat. The AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular MedicineTM is calling on all cardiovascular and stroke dataset owners and stewards to share their data as the first step in acquiring all the pieces needed to treat and prevent heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and other cardiovascular diseases. Data from clinical trials, long-running epidemiologic studies, registries and real-time health data acquired through wearable devices and technology is sought. "We have blown away the barriers and welcome all to join this game-changing platform that promotes us working together as one community to ultimately benefit patients worldwide," said Jennifer Hall, PhD, the AHA's Chief of the Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. "The platform provides an opportunity to learn, search and discover in new and efficient ways, and we will keep working with the community to weave in new diverse data to help us drill deeper and enrich our understanding." Several organizations are leading the way toward the future of open data by contributing their information to the secure platform, including AstraZeneca, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, Dallas Heart Study, Duke Cardiovascular Research Institute, Intermountain Health, the International Stroke Genetics Consortium, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and Stanford University. "The increasing breadth and depth of medical data presents a tremendous opportunity to generate more nuanced and precise pre-diagnoses. However, leveraging this data requires tools capable of integrating data of diverse origin. The AHA Precision Medicine Platform can empower researchers with both the framework and tools to ease the burdens of data harmonization, amplifying the insight available from their own data." Said Gabriel Musso, PhD, VP Life Sciences, BioSymetrics Inc., who has been actively using the platform during the initial phase. The AHA Precision Medicine Platform is the only resource of its kind focused on cardiovascular diseases and stroke. "I am so excited for the potential the AHA Precision Medicine Platform brings for doing research across data sets to find consistent research results, and replicate and confirm research," said early adaptor Laura M. Stevens, a Predoctoral National Library of Medicine Fellow in the computational biosciences program at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical School. "The platform makes big data analyses much quicker and easier. It's a great foundation for implementing precision medicine and research in a clinical setting. I can't wait to see where this will take us as a research community." Researchers are not charged for accessing the data but will pay a fee for cloud computing capabilities based on the current AWS model. Any revenue from cloud-based computing will be used to fund AHA's research initiatives. "By working together on datasets we have the ability to test the speed, agility and transparency of research," said Hall. "With your data and your efforts, the AHA Precision Medicine Platform can help enable your discoveries of novel underlying causal factors of heart failure, new diagnostic biomarkers to predict stroke, or exponential new approaches to precision care for those with cardiovascular diseases and stroke." Through the tool, the AHA reaches across the government, academic, industry, and patient communities to deepen data resources and spur research opportunities with an aim to transform cardiovascular research and patient care. To further foster research aimed at reversing and preventing cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the AHA Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine also offers a variety of grant opportunities for scientists and researchers from many different fields of study. The application process for several grants is currently open.

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