Boston-based Brigham and Women’s Hospital cardiovascular medicine chief Dr. Calum MacRae won a $75 million heart disease research grant from the American Heart Association to investigate coronary heart disease.
The money comes from the One Brave Idea research grant, which was funded by the AHA, Verily Life Sciences and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN), with an eventual end goal of finding a cure for coronary heart disease and its consequences.
“After launching a global search effort earlier this year, we are proud to announce the selection of Dr. Calum MacRae as the leader of our One Brave Idea initiative. Dr. MacRae and his newly-formed, world-renowned, multidisciplinary team were selected from among hundreds of applicants throughout the world to receive this landmark award that will provide support over a five-year period for a research project focused on uncovering the causes of heart disease, including previously unrecognized signals marking the transition from wellness to the earliest, yet still largely invisible stages of disease,” AHA CEO Nancy Brown said in a prepared release.
MacRae’s research is focused on exploring how heart disease begins, according to a Statnews report. MacRae will search for signals that identify hearts that are moving from health to diseased, which have previously never been found.
“I’m grateful to the AHA, Verily and AstraZeneca for believing in my research vision and showing their support by selecting our remarkable team as the recipients of the One Brave Idea award. The earliest indicators of coronary heart disease remain unknown, both on a genetic and molecular level. If we unearth and characterize novel markers in people genetically prone to heart disease or with early stages of the disease, we can potentially screen the broader population at a younger age to identify those same markers and discover preventative or pre-disease interventions that can break the cascade towards disease,” Dr. MacRae said in a press release.
In addition to funding, the grant comes with support and resources from all 3 partnered organizations, the AHA said. Services include device engineering, data analytics, software development and technical support from Verily and scientific insights and mentoring from AstraZeneca.
“The vision for One Brave Idea was to create an innovative model for scientific research by bringing together significant resources and diverse organizations to support a single vision. With our partners at the American Heart Association and AstraZeneca, we hope this initiative will inspire other new approaches to funding and catalyze meaningful advances for patients living with coronary heart disease and other conditions,” Verily chief medical officer Dr. Jessica Mega said in a prepared statement.
“AstraZeneca, AHA and Verily share a common purpose and passion for patients and science. We believe that this collaboration will ignite and inspire ideas, opening the door to find a big, brave solution. Dr. MacRae’s research not only has the potential to advance our understanding of coronary heart disease and its underlying consequences, but also allows us to combine resources to take a truly innovative and multidisciplinary approach in addressing cardiovascular disease,” AstraZeneca U.S. medical affairs head Dr. Greg Keenan said in prepared remarks.