Research

Dr. Valentín Fuster and Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital’s audacious research in all areas of cardiovascular health will remain crucial in the future, and this campaign will continue to drive innovation in basic, clinical, and translational cardiovascular research.

Please find it in your heart to give to the $100 million VF100 Campaign and keep us at the leading edge of care and discovery.

Now Is the Time to Invest in Cardiac Care

The Impact of Research

Research is the cornerstone of any world-class medical program. It requires focus, talent, and a desire to solve the mysteries of science. Dr. Fuster encourages our researchers to focus on the intersection of our biological systems to improve overall health and heart health. We are bridging the gap from research to results that directly impact patients at an individual and community level, which is central to the field of cardiology at Mount Sinai. Your gift will help Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital’s cutting-edge work and lead to breakthroughs in understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Our 2023 Specialty Report highlights the tremendous research, techniques, and procedures our physicians have conducted at Mount Sinai Fuster Heart Hospital.

Polypill

“The SECURE study findings suggest the Polypill could become an integral element of strategies to prevent recurrent cardiovascular events in patients who have had a heart attack, by simplifying treatment and improving adherence, this approach has the potential to reduce the risk of recurrent cardiovascular disease and death on a global scale.”

– Dr. Valentín Fuster

A recent study coordinated by the National Center for Cardiovascular Research suggests that a one-pill regiment introduced by Dr. Valentín Fuster could become central in preventing future cardiovascular events in heart attack patients. The Polypill contains three medications essential for reducing cardiovascular mortality and decreasing the risk of major cardiovascular events.

These three medications—aspirin, ACE inhibitor and statin—are currently prescribed separately to heart attack patients. They are crucial in reducing cardiovascular mortality and the risk of future cardiac events. Though patients initially adhere to the three-medication regiment, more than half do not continue taking them as prescribed. To combat this issue, Dr. Fuster developed the Polypill, combining these three essential medications into one pill.  With the potential to significantly improve patient medication adherence, the Polypill could greatly impact the treatment of patients with a history of previous heart attacks.

The SECURE Study, spearheaded by Dr. Fuster and the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC), where he serves as the General Director, revealed this tremendous breakthrough in September 2022. Including 2,499 patients from seven European countries, SECURE studied participants recovering from a heart attack in a three-year timespan. The study randomly assigned participants to receive standard therapy or the Polypill. The average age of the participants was 76 years and 31 percent were women. The study population included 77.9 percent with hypertension, 57.4 percent with diabetes and 51.3 percent with a history of smoking tobacco.

Published in The New England Journal of Medicine and The New York Times, The SECURE Study produced the following conclusive results:

  • A 33% reduction in cardiovascular mortality, effectively preventing adverse events like heart attacks or strokes in prior heart attack patients
  • A 24% decrease in risk of major cardiovascular events, including death from cardiovascular causes, non-fatal myocardial infarction revascularization (heart attack), non-fatal stroke and emergency coronary, compared to patients following a standard treatment plan

The goal is to expand the use of the Polypill throughout the US and underdeveloped countries to significantly improve cardiac patients’ survival.

Age-Dependent Research Study

Dr. Fuster’s age-dependent study focuses on the need to understand heart disease and in turn, our ability to improve overall health. We now have the opportunity to slow or prevent the emergence of a multitude of diseases of the brain and the heart.

This three-part research effort will attempt to establish new guidelines around what it means to be “healthy” during childhood, middle age and into elder life. Click here to view Dr. Fuster’s Grand Rounds presentation on this study:

  • Part 1: Childhood is the golden age where life-long healthy habits can be learned and maintained. Learn about the Five Boroughs Project – a culmination of Dr. Valentín Fuster’s decades-long research to understand the biological and societal mechanisms that affect the progression of disease later in life.
  • Part 2: In middle age, 63% of people between the ages of 40-54 show early signs of atherosclerosis or the narrowing of the arteries due to plaque build-up. Dr. Fuster is advocating lowering the “optimal global standard” of LDL cholesterol to under 70 mg/dl in young adults via the PRECAD Trial. Your gift can help us enroll a diverse patient population into this trial to reset current medical practices and update the LDL cholesterol protocol worldwide.
  • Part 3: In elder life, heart-related risk factors greatly affect the microvascular system and are associated with decreased brain activity. We are studying the connection between the heart and the brain to improve our understanding of the development of cognitive dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s. Through the VF100 Campaign, your partnership will help us continue to understand, monitor, and treat these symptoms before they present themselves.

  1. Cardiovascular Health in childhood: The Children’s Lifestyle, Diet and Exercise Intervention (CHILDREN’s Project).
  2. Cardiovascular Health in middle-age: The Prevent Coronary Artery Disease Trial (PRE-CAD).
  3. Cardiovascular Health in the elderly: Deep Profiling of Human Vascular Beds.

TANSNIP- H2H Study

The TANSNIP-H2H study utilizes multiple imaging modalities including Cardiac CT, 3D Ultrasonography, MRI and FDG-PET to investigate the relationship between cognitive dysfunction, cardiovascular risk factors, atherosclerosis and microvascular brain changes. Preliminary analysis of the data is very exciting, as our data showed reduced white matter connectivity as measured by DTI in subjects with high cardiovascular risk as measured by coronary artery calcium scores. This is consistent with small vessel disease. In addition, working memory performance as measured by fMRI showed increased activity in subjects with high CAC scores reflecting a less efficient brain. We looked at both correlation analysis and group comparisons using CAC=400 as cut-off. This implies that the brain must work harder or is less efficient in patients with high CAC scores. Correlation with MOCA scores showed reduced activity for patients with lower MOCA scores. Therefore, we hypothesize that disruption of the brain connective networks is mediated, in large part, by cerebral micro-vascular atherosclerotic changes. To further investigate these initial correlates, we propose to increase the power of the study to include a total of 500 participants amongst the two sites. To achieve this goal, we ask for your support. TANSNIP-H2H elucidates a strong association between large vessel atherosclerosis, risk factors, cerebral arteriolar intimal hyperplasia, cerebral hypometabolism and cognitive dysfunction. We believe that TANSNIP-H2H will continue to serve as a landmark study in better clarifying such complex relationships. This understanding will allow for effective strategies for risk stratifying patients, tailoring therapies optimizing risk reduction strategies and monitoring disease progression of cognitive decline.

CVRI

The Mount Sinai Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI), under the Directorship of Filip Swirski, PhD, is leveraging the full force of Mount Sinai’s translational approach to research and clinical medicine by building itself as a fluidly collaborative and interdisciplinary institute. Through the integration of three specialized centers—the Center for Lifestyle and Disease Prevention, the Center for Systems Physiology and the Center for Genetic Medicine and Bioengineering—staffed by some of the leading practitioners in their fields, CVRI will advance a holistic understanding of cardiovascular health to introduce next generation of disease preventions and therapeutics. How do we maintain heart health throughout our lives and prevent the emergence of disease?

Because lifestyle factors have the greatest impact on the development of heart disease, the distinct mission of the Center for Lifestyle and Disease Prevention is to focus on cardiovascular health rather than cardiovascular disease, exploring on the molecular level how modifiable factors such as sleep, stress, diet and exercise impact heart health. The workings of the heart and blood vessels cannot be fully comprehended until we understand how they are integrated with the other systems of the body.

The Center for Systems Physiology is investigating the cardiovascular system’s points of intersection with systems explored by neuroscience, immunology, biochemistry, endocrinology and hematology to uncover hidden opportunities to maintain and repair cardiovascular health. This mechanistic, cross-disciplinary approach will map the impactful connections between the brain and the vasculature, the bone marrow and the lymph nodes and liver. Despite all efforts, cardiovascular disease remains the number one killer in the United States and around the world. The Center for Genetic Medicine and Bioengineering is where much of CVRI’s true translational work culminates, developing advanced treatments that result from the discoveries of its other two integrated Centers. One area focus for the Centers will be developing methods of advanced nanotechnology and modified RNA technology to facilitate more effective delivery of therapeutics to the body. The interdisciplinary work highlighted here is just a sampling of the innovative, next-generation medicine being advanced at CVRI, which translates directly to our patients’ bedsides. By embracing the full complexity of human biology, we are pursuing the breakthroughs that will bring to life the preventions and treatments demanded to finally turn the tide of cardiovascular disease.

“This campaign is really important because there's so much more we can do in cardiovascular disease for patients globally through the combined efforts of the team we have here at Mount Sinai.”

David H. Adams, MD

Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Professor and System Chairman

Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery & Cardiac Surgeon-in-Chief, Mount Sinai Health System