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Professor Andrew Murphy

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Professor Andrew Murphy

Can lipids in immune cells predict heart disease?

Professor Andrew Murphy, Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

2022 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2023-2024

Heart disease is the primary cause of death globally. Accordingly, predicting heart attacks remains one of the most important challenges in modern medicine. Heart disease risk-factors such as blood pressure, blood lipid levels, smoking, etc, allows clinicians to provide a rough estimate of the probability of having a heart attack, it is still challenging to determine this with any certainty. Lipids play an important role in driving heart disease, particularly within immune cells. With this knowledge, we propose measuring lipid levels within immune cells to assess heart disease risk. Lipid levels within immune cells are influenced by genes and lifestyle. Therefore, measuring lipids specifically within immune cells provides a composite measure that captures both genetic and lifestyle risk factors. We believe that the outcome of this work is development of a unique risk score that will provide a superior index of heart disease risk. The future is to determine immune cell lipid pathways to develop new drugs with the goal of reducing heart disease.

Last updated17 January 2023