Healthcare Industry News:  vascular imaging 

Devices Interventional Cardiology

 News Release - August 30, 2006

Abbott Announces Completion of Enrollment in Groundbreaking Vulnerable Plaque Study

Goal of Study Is to Help Physicians Find Ways to Identify and Predict Patient Risk for Future Cardiac Events

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., Aug. 30 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Abbott today announced completion of enrollment in a landmark study designed to increase clinical understanding of "vulnerable" plaque -- a lipid-rich coronary plaque that suddenly ruptures -- believed to be the cause of most heart attacks. The study enrolled 700 acute coronary syndrome patients receiving stents in the United States and Europe. Patients will be followed up for at least two, and up to five, years.

The study, called PROSPECT (Providing Regional Observations to Study Predictors of Events in the Coronary Tree), utilizes novel intravascular imaging technology to correlate plaque characteristics, patient risk factors and biomarker measurements with subsequent heart attacks and other cardiac events, potentially paving the way for physicians to identify and treat at- risk patients before a heart attack occurs. The study is sponsored by Abbott.

"As the first prospective natural history study examining whether novel blood and imaging tests are able to identify patients at risk for future death and heart attack, PROSPECT promises to provide groundbreaking data critical to understanding the progression of coronary artery disease, and represents the first step toward identifying patients at high risk who may benefit from preventative therapies," said Gregg W. Stone, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and principal investigator of the PROSPECT study.

Dr. Stone will present baseline demographic and imaging data from the first group of patients enrolled in PROSPECT in October at the Eighteenth Annual Scientific Symposium, Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT 2006), in Washington, D.C.

"Completion of enrollment in PROSPECT is a major milestone for our vulnerable plaque program, which has been a key area of focus for our cardiac business for several years," said John M. Capek, Ph.D., president, Cardiac Therapies, Abbott Vascular. "We are excited that our efforts in this area will contribute to a growing body of scientific knowledge that may one day allow physicians to better predict and prevent heart attacks."

About Vulnerable Plaque

The cause of most heart attacks was once believed to be the gradual closing of arteries over time as plaque build-up slowly increased, restricting blood and oxygen flow to the heart. However, the vast majority of heart attacks are now believed to be triggered by the rupture of a lipid-rich vulnerable plaque hidden under a thin fibrous cap on the artery wall, causing blood to clot on the plaque and suddenly blocking the artery.

For this reason, heart attacks often occur in apparently healthy people who were unaware they have this type of plaque buildup in the walls of their arteries. Treadmill "stress tests," given to help determine whether blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart, do not indicate whether vulnerable plaque is present. Vulnerable plaques are not readily evident in angiograms, either, as the hidden plaque may not yet block the vessel.

About Abbott Vascular's Vulnerable Plaque Program

The mission of Abbott Vascular's Vulnerable Plaque program, founded in 1999, is to advance knowledge of early diagnosis of plaque that may be the cause of subsequent heart attacks; accelerate the development of vulnerable plaque diagnostics; and explore new therapies that could save the lives of patients suffering from cardiac and vascular disease. The vulnerable plaque program leverages Abbott's expertise in pharmaceutical, diagnostic and interventional therapies.

Abbott Vascular's Vulnerable Plaque program was acquired through Abbott's acquisition of Guidant's Vascular Intervention and Endovascular Solutions businesses in April 2006.

About Abbott Vascular

Abbott Vascular, a division of Abbott, is one of the world's leading vascular care businesses. Abbott Vascular is focused uniquely on transforming the treatment of vascular disease by combining the latest medical device innovations with world-class pharmaceuticals that advance medicine and improve patient care. Abbott Vascular offers a comprehensive portfolio of vessel closure, endovascular and coronary products, which are recognized internationally for their safety, effectiveness and ease of use in treating patients with vascular disease.

Headquartered in California's Bay Area, Abbott Vascular has 8,000 employees. For more information, visit .

About Abbott

Abbott (NYSE: ABT ) is a global, broad-based health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products, including nutritionals, devices and diagnostics. The company employs 65,000 people and markets its products in more than 130 countries.

Abbott's news releases and other information are available on the company's web site at .

Source: Abbott

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