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NIH to Fund Diabetes/Cardiovascular Biomarker Collaboration

Chad Borges (Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University)

Biodesign Institute researcher Chad Borges loads a sample into a mass spectrometer. (Arizona State University)

Researchers at Arizona State University in Tempe will lead a team funded by National Institutes of Health to discover proteins or biomarkers that help predict cardiovascular disease and to assess new treatments for people with type 2 diabetes. The $5 million, four-year project will include scientists from the Phoenix VA Health Care System, Pfizer Inc., and University of Arizona.

The team is led by chemistry professor Randy Nelson, director of the Molecular Biosignatures Analysis Unit at ASU’s Biodesign Institute. Nelson says the team’s goal is to “discover, validate and translate novel protein biomarkers for cardiovascular complications in type 2 diabetes and their use in drug development.” The need for the project, notes Nelson, arises from the lack of standard biomarkers to identify people with type 2 diabetes who are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

The study is expected to examine and validate biomarkers in people with diabetes, some of whom will have had a heart attack. No single biomarker will probably have enough predictive power to assess heart attack risk. Panels of biomarkers will more likely be needed to identify drug targets.

Team member Peter Reaven, will oversee the selection of target biomarkers and clinical work, including patient recruitment at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Pfizer is expected to play a key role in translating prognostic biomarkers of cardiovascular disease risk for decision-making during drug development for type 2 diabetes. Others team members include Chad Borges at ASU’s Biodesign Institute (pictured at top); Juraj Koska of the Phoenix VA Health Care System; and Serrine Lau, Craig Stump, and Yassine Hussein at the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute.

“One advantage to our team approach,” says Reaven, “is that it will integrate, from the very beginning, the many aspects and disciplines required for a pipeline of biomarker discovery, validation, and translation.”

Read more: Biomarker Test Can Reduce Heart Failure Complications

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