CAMBRIDGE, England–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Researchers from PlaqueTec Ltd. presented data suggesting that localised coronary inflammation may be independent of systemic elevation of inflammatory biomarkers such as high-sensitivity C reactive protein (hsCRP). The data, presented at the 86th European Atherosclerosis Society (EAS) Congress in Lisbon, Portugal, are based on analysis of blood samples obtained via PlaqueTec’s Liquid Biopsy System™ (LBS™), the first and only dedicated liquid biopsy catheter that can be deployed at the site of coronary plaque to assess residual risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).
“As we saw in the landmark CANTOS study, reducing systemic inflammation – as distinct from lowering cholesterol – can yield a small reduction in CAD-related events,” explained Nick West, MD, PlaqueTec Chief Medical Officer and Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. “That would seem to implicate known inflammatory markers such as hsCRP as an indicator of vascular risk. However, there is a complex relationship between systemic and coronary inflammation and their respective interactions with ‘vulnerable’ plaque, suggesting that there’s more to the story than a high or low level of hsCRP as seen through a regular blood draw.”
Dr. West and colleagues evaluated blood samples from 23 patients undergoing coronary stenting procedures, using the LBS to collect samples simultaneously from precise discrete locations both upstream and downstream of atherosclerotic plaques (coronary samples), as well as from peripheral samples. They used multiplexed assays to analyse both coronary and peripheral blood samples for gradients of a panel of inflammatory proteins (i.e., change in biomarker concentration), and assayed peripheral samples for the presence of hsCRP.
Cluster analysis of all inflammatory gradients revealed two distinct patient groups with overall low (n=11) and high (n=12) coronary inflammatory states. However, the presence of coronary biomarker gradients was not reflected in peripheral biomarker samples nor in hsCRP levels between these groups (group 1 median 2.64mg/L vs. group 2 median 1.22mg/L; p=0.1).
“Although elevated hsCRP is well established as a risk factor for arterial plaque and systemic inflammation, our data suggest it does not act as a simple ‘barometer’ for the likelihood of CAD events,” said Dr. West. “Rather, the presence of coronary inflammation appears to be an independent entity. We have identified many potential inflammatory biomarkers in the coronary arteries that are not present in the systemic circulation, which require further investigation to elucidate their role in the pathogenesis of CAD – knowledge that may potentiate the advancement of personalised medicine.”
About PlaqueTec Ltd and the Liquid Biopsy System™
PlaqueTec was formed in 2008 within Papworth Hospital in Cambridge (UK), as a spinout from PA Consulting. With funding from IPEX Capital and guidance from a strong network of scientific advisors and clinicians, the company has developed the first-of-its-kind PlaqueTec Liquid Biopsy System™ (LBS™), a platform technology that enables unparalleled resolution of the processes that lead to coronary artery disease (CAD). Since 2012, PlaqueTec has validated its LBS device in two clinical studies and identified numerous biomarkers that are associated with CAD – published in the December 2017 issue of JACC: Basic to Translational Science. The company is using these biomarkers to build a database to provide a better understanding of CAD that can be used by clinicians, researchers, and biopharmaceutical companies to conduct translational research and develop next-generation personalised therapies. The product is not approved for use in the U.S.