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Dr James Nadel has published a literature review in the European Society of Cardiology’s journal Cardiovascular Research which explores the role of myeloperoxidase (MPO) in cardiovascular disease. Particular focus was on unstable atherosclerotic plaque, a major cause of heart attack and stroke.

MPO is a naturally occurring enzyme in the body, but it can cause damage to its host via oxidative stress, a process that drives inflammation and tissue damage. MPO has long been implicated in cardiovascular disease, but recent evidence suggests it plays a specific role in plaque destabilisation.

The review explores the underlying process of MPO, its role in atherosclerosis, and how MPO may be targeted using diagnostic tools and therapies to treat people at risk of cardiovascular disease before events occur.

If we can devel­op enhanced diag­nos­tic tools and treat­ments that detect and pre­vent stroke and heart attack before they hap­pen, it would be rev­o­lu­tion­ary for the med­ical sec­tor,” Dr Nadel says.

“Heart attack claims an average of 19 lives every day in Australia, and stroke is a leading cause of disability. I see the devastation it has on families every day. The research team and I are excited by our early results, so are working hard to move it forward.”

Dr Nadel is a cardiologist studying his PhD with the Arterial Inflammation and Redox Biology Group at the Heart Research Institute. His project is to understand MPO’s role in plaque destabilisation, stroke and heart attack, and how MPO detection can be coupled with clinically available diagnostic tools like CT and MRI scans for the improved detection of plaques at risk of causing harm.

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