Tuesday, 26 April 2016

New research asks whether vaccination can prevent heart attacks and strokes for those at risk

SPHPM’s Centre for Cardiovascular Research and Education in Therapeutics (CCRET) is helping to coordinate a major national study testing whether a safe, one-off vaccination can help to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The collaborative study will be assisted by Chief Investigator Professor Andrew Tonkin and by Dr Ingrid Hopper and will be based at Caulfield Hospital.

The Australian Study for the Prevention through Immunisation of Cardiovascular Events (AUSPICE) is recruiting 6,000 men and women aged 55 to 60 years across six centres in Newcastle, Gosford, Canberra, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to be part of this pioneering research.

This collaboration between the University of Newcastle, Australian National University, Monash University, Flinders University and The University of Western Australia is made up of a large multidisciplinary team including cardiologists, epidemiologists, neurologists, nurse immunisers, pharmacists, public health and medicine physicians, and biostatisticians.

The study will formally test whether the existing pneumococcal vaccine can not only reduce invasive pneumococcal disease but also help to prevent heart attack and stroke.

Professor Tonkin said that observational studies to date indicate a 17 per cent reduction in the risk of heart attacks for those who receive the pneumococcal vaccine.

“The antibodies that are generated in response to the vaccine appear to bind to and reduce the build-up of cholesterol, thereby reducing vascular disease. The only way to explore this efficiently is through a randomised controlled trial,” Professor Tonkin said.

“To our knowledge this the first and only trial registered in the world exploring this possibility.”

Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in Australia, despite ongoing efforts in prevention and treatment.

“If shown to be effective, it would be relatively easy to incorporate changes into clinical practice because the pneumococcal vaccine is safe and has already been used in Australia for over 20 years in a different target group,” Dr Hopper said.

Each trial centre is aiming to recruit 1000 participants, who are asked to attend a single clinic visit for less than one hour. People with at least two risk factors for heart disease – high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or overweight/obesity – will be randomised to receive either the active vaccine or a saline placebo.

Letters of invitation and eligibility screening are being randomly sent out by the Department of Human Services (Medicare) throughout 2016 to people who reside close to one of the AUSPICE centres. You must receive a letter from the Department of Human Services (Medicare) to be eligible to participate in the study.

Health record linkage will be used to determine the rates of heart attack and stroke in the treatment and control groups, four to five years after vaccination.

“This novel new study could dramatically improve the health outcomes for so many Australians affected by adverse cardiovascular health – we are asking anyone who receives an invitation for AUSPICE via mail to please take the time to consider participating and to complete the eligibility screening, either in hard copy or online,” Professor Tonkin said.

AUSPICE is publically funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...