By Jessica Desamero
Heart disease in the U.S. is one of the leading causes of death. The most common type is coronary heart disease (CAD), which can lead to heart attacks. It is caused by plaque buildup in arteries that supply the heart with blood, causing them to narrow. To this day, bare-metal stents have been inserted in CAD patients to counter-act this blockage. But Abbott Laboratories has manufactured a new bio-resabsorbable stent called Absorb, which is claimed to be a significant improvement. Stony Brook was chosen as a site for clinical trials for Absorb, and Dr. Luis Gruberg, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Director of Research, Interventional Cardiology, leads this study.
Like the metal stent, Absorb opens up the blocked arteries and prevents them from closing again. “It has what we called a polymer that has a drug coating,” Dr. Gruberg elaborates, “which prevents the inflammation process that happens inside the artery.” What makes it different is that is made of a complex sugar, so it slowly dissolves and gets reabsorbed into the body within 1.5-2 years. This allows the vessel to eventually return to normal. “It’s better because once it dissolves, nothing is left inside the artery, so within two years the artery is able to recover its vasomotion. Whereas when it has the metal inside of it, it prevents it from recovering completely.”
Once this stent and its effects on vasomotion are fully understood, it will be a notable advancement in treatment of this disease.
Gruberg. Luis. Personal interview. 28 January 2014.
Dr. Van Nostrand:
“Early Amyloid Buildup of Brain Blood Vessels in Relation to Cognitive Function”
Alzheimer’s disease is a common form of dementia in which the cognitive abilities of memory, thinking, and behavior are lost. There is no cure, but research aiding in treatment advancements continues. According to previous studies, in Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid β accumulates in the brain and aggregates either around neurons or brain blood vessels. A team led by Dr. William Van Nostrand, Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, has discovered that early cognitive impairment can be the result of the amyloid buildup in the brain blood vessels, specifically.
This study used two mouse models, each with a different type of amyloid development. These mice were tested for special learning and memory by going through a special maze. They were then measured for amyloid amounts by an ELISA immunochemical assay. Results found that by six months both models were cognitively impaired, but after three months, cognitive function only diminished in the model with blood brain vessel amyloid.
These results are significant, as it suggests that blood brain vessel amyloid can potentially be targeted to treat early stages of the disease. However, more studies would need to be done.
“We want to determine if the blood vessel amyloid causes different consequences than plaque amyloid and if these differences are responsible for the earlier impairment of cognitive functions,” Dr. Van Nostrand says. “Both types of amyloid pathology can promote cognitive impairment so ideally one would want to target both.”
Van Nostrand. William. E-mail interview. 2 Februa