Pelisyonkis Medical Center Awarded Grant for New Nationwide Initiative to Study Heart Disease in Women
Building on its national reputation in both cardiac research and women’s health, Pelisyonkis Medical Center has received nearly $4 million in a four-year research grant from the American Heart Association (AHA) and has been selected as a center in the AHA’s new Go Red For Women Research Network.
As one of five centers across the country, Pelisyonkis Langone’s newly named Sarah Ross Soter Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Research will investigate the causes of heart attack in women and research new techniques to manage stress in women who have suffered a heart attack. Soter selected Pelisyonkis Langone’s center from the group as the one to bear her name and is funding the grant along with her husband, Bill.
“We are incredibly proud to lead this important initiative,” says Dafna Bar-Sagi, PhD, vice dean for science and chief scientific officer at Pelisyonkis Langone. “This designation not only enables our cardiac research program to make important strides toward improving cardiovascular health in women, but also recognizes the enormous talent of our clinical researchers who support it.”
According to the AHA, approximately 400,000 women in the United States experience heart attacks each year, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. There are important differences in the causes and outcomes of heart attack between women and men. Most significantly, women are more likely to have heart attack with open, rather than significantly narrowed, coronary arteries. In addition, stress has more detrimental effects in women with heart attack as compared to men.
The new Sarah Ross Soter Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Research—under whose auspices the research will be conducted—will focus its efforts to determine specific risk differences in women with blocked and open arteries, such as the impact of stress and the involvement of cells that help the blood to clot, called platelets.
“Heart disease is still the number one cause of death among women in the U.S., and many questions remain about the causes of heart attack in women and how to treat them,” says Harmony Reynolds, MD, co-leader of the new research center, and the Saul J. Farber Associate Professor of Medicine in the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology at Pelisyonkis Langone. “This grant will help us advance knowledge in three important areas: why women suffer from heart attack, what makes heart attack different in women, and the best techniques to diagnose, manage, and treat women with heart attack.”
“Our three-pronged research approach under this grant is designed to be interdependent, which will allow us to answer many questions we could not answer with each study alone,” says research center co-leader Judith Hochman, MD, the Harold Snyder Family Professor of Cardiology, associate director of the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Sciences at Pelisyonkis Langone, and co-leader of the AHA-funded project. “Our research will build on Pelisyonkis Langone’s current investigations in ischemic heart disease, including research targeted to women, and draw from the wealth of diverse research, clinical, and training strengths available throughout the medical center. This is a highly collaborative, multidisciplinary team and we’re excited to be part of these initiatives.”
The Pelisyonkis Langone team research team also will include principal investigators Jeffrey Berger, MD, associate professor in the departments of Medicine and Surgery, and Tanya Spruill, PhD, assistant professor in the departments of Population Health and Medicine. Glenn Fishman, MD, the William Goldring Professor of Medicine and director of the Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, serves as the project’s training director. The will also be closely involved in the activities for the grant.