New Biomarkers and Targets for Diagnosis of Atherosclerotic Plaque and Collaterals

Categories: “Cardiovascular Diseases

Reference #: 2009-003

OTC Contact: : Ruchika Nijhara, PhD, MBA, CLP Office: (202) 687-3721 (Directory Information | Send a Message)


Acute coronary syndrome (ACS), characterized by either acute myocardinal infarction (AMI) or unstable angina, are most commonly precipitated by plaque rupture, which accounts for about 80-90% of fatal AMI and/or sudden coronary deaths. Plaque rupture also plays an important role in stroke. The present invention identifies novel genetic and biological markers based on a functional strategy and a non-invasive imaging method to diagnose specific patients at high risk of developing plaque rupture and therefore AMI or stroke. The present invention also provides more effective therapeutic strategies involving targeting delivery of drugs specifically to the vulnerable plaque (VP).


  • Diagnosis of patients that are at risk for developing AMI or stroke
  • Identification of novel therapeutic targets needed for development of novel drugs designed to prevent VP
  • Targeted non-invasive imaging for VP
  • Potential for targeted drug delivery to developing collaterals and VP


  • Novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets that are involved in the development of VP.
  • A Method that uses targeted non-invasive imaging for VP
  • Novel animal models of VP and of rapidly developing collaterals that have phenotypic features as seen in humans.
  • Identifies the new molecules that are, by methodology, accessible to the circulating blood

Stage of Development

The inventors have identified a novel class of homing ligands (using a human bone-marrow derived cDNA library) that specifically bind to collaterals and VP and then validated their binding function in vivo in the unique animal models for developing collateral and VP. Further, the inventors have identified novel SNPs in these VP-binding and collateral-binding ligands and have shown in coronary artery disease patients that these are reliable genetic markers that are associated with increased risk of AMI. They have developed an aggregate genetic risk score, based on the number of risk alleles an individual has, which markedly improves the identification of high risk subgroups, conveying a maximal odd ratio of having the propensity to develop plaque rapture (i.e. develop AMI) and develop coronary artery disease in humans.

Relevant Publications

No references or resources available.

Patent Status

U.S. and International Patent protection sought.