Cardiovascular health is a major concern in contemporary America. This should come as no surprise given the prevalence of heart disease due to factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, poor diet, and lack of exercise. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease affects more than 1 in 3 Americans and is the leading cause of death in the United States. Major research efforts are underway to help stem the tide of this epidemic, in order to help people live longer, healthier lives. A substantial part of this effort over the past 30 years has been executed by the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
TIMI came into being in 1984 under the leadership of Dr. Eugene Braunwald and has evolved into one of the premier cardiovascular academic research organizations in the world. Under the current leadership of Marc Sabatine, MD, the TIMI Study Group is focused on conducting large-scale, practice-changing clinical trials in patients with cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These clinical trials primarily take the shape of investigational drug research for different patient conditions. Often, tens of thousands of patients are recruited into each of these clinical trials and both clinical outcomes as well as biomarker and genetic data are ascertained, thus generating enormous amounts of experimental data for researchers to help unlock the clues behind the mechanisms of and optimal treatment for cardiovascular diseases.
A Hearty Celebration
On Sept. 18, during Cardiovascular Grand Rounds held in the Shapiro Breakout Room, Sabatine, Braunwald, and four other TIMI investigators, gave a presentation entitled, “The TIMI Study Group: 30 Years of Cardiovascular Clinical Trials,” encapsulating the vast amount of work invested in the TIMI trials, and the tireless efforts of the researchers involved. The TIMI trials have had several major accomplishments over the past 30 years. In many cases, the trials demonstrated the effectiveness of newer drugs or techniques over standard therapies.
Included in the talk was a discussion of the more prominent clinical trials on antithrombotic (blood clot-blocking), including PRINCIPLE-TIMI 44, TRITON-TIMI 38, and ENGAGE AF-TIMI 48, and on lipid-lowering drugs, including PROVE-IT TIMI 22, LAPLACE-TIMI 57, REVEAL-HPS3/TIMI 55, and IMPROVE-IT. The presenters also provided details on its personalized medicine programs, one of the hallmarks of TIMI, specifically the biomarker and genetics programs, which collect personalized information from patients to assess cardiovascular risk.
According to Sabatine, “We are proud to have trained dozens of cardiologists around the world who now are independent physician-scientists helping advance the treatment of cardiovascular disease.”