Boston Heart launches a new inflammation test for cardiovascular disease

Boston Heart CEO Susan Hertzberg

Boston Heart Diagnostics rolled out its test for the biomarker myeloperoxidase, which has been shown in studies to predict heart attack or stroke. The diagnostic is part of a range of tests the company has lined up to make a full risk assessment in cardiovascular disease.

The myeloperoxidase, or MPO, test is designed to determine the risk associated with inflammation that can cause the blockage of the blood vessels or rupture leading to stroke or heart attack.

Boston Heart CEO Susan Hertzberg, in an interview with FierceDiagnostics, likened an inflamed artery to a pipe that has been hit repeatedly with a sledgehammer, creating dings and notches in which cholesterol can get trapped and then build into dangerous plaque.

High levels of the MPO enzyme indicate inflammation within the blood vessel. And finding out quickly whether a patient has high levels of the biomarker can enable physicians to apply statins, beta-blockers or ACE inhibitors to cut down on that inflammation.

And for Boston Heart, the MPO test, manufactured by Siemens ($SI), is part of a full range of tests designed to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease on four different levels, Hertzberg said, because cholesterol isn't the only way to mark someone's risk of CVD.

"At Boston Heart, we think about four key areas: lipids, metabolics, inflammation and genetics," Hertzberg said. "Put them all together, and we create the focused, deep assessment of someone's risk of heart attack and stroke. The MPO assay was the last piece of the puzzle in that risk assessment."

The MPO test will be made available as an individual assay, the company says, or as part of a panel of inflammation markers, which include a fibrinogen assay, a high-sensitivity CRP test and an LpPLA2 test for plaque. The MPO test in particular would require fewer blood draws than other similar tests and less interference on the physician's end in terms of having to divide up the sample.

The company said the test is reimbursed by Medicare and costs $42.

Boston Heart's goal overall, Hertzberg said, is to tackle cardiovascular disease from beginning to end for each patient, from identification of biomarkers to risk assessment, then personalization and treatment that integrates a drug regimen and lifestyle changes.

- here's the release

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