SCAD research

SCAD patients and the Leicester research team

UK SCAD research

The UK research project at the Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Centre is funded by the National Institute for Health Research and Beat SCAD.

The research was patient-led from the start when Rebecca Breslin (Chair of Beat SCAD, pictured seated above), approached Dr David Adlam (pictured second from the right above), having made contact with a number of SCAD patients in the UK. More than 500 patients are now registered for the research.

The photo above was taken in August 2013 at a meeting between 14 SCAD patients, Dr Adlam and Dr Gulati (pictured far right) from the Mayo Clinic at the Leicester Coronary Biomedical Research Unit.

One current area of interest where Beat SCAD is providing funding is proteomics. We asked Dr David Adlam to explain what that means.

“‘omics’ stands for the discovery approaches to research where we look at lots of biological signatures and try to see what is different in SCAD patients compared to control (healthy volunteer) samples. You will have heard us talk about genomics which is where we are looking across many, many genes to see if we can identify those important for SCAD.

“The ‘prote’ part of proteomics refers to proteins. Here we are looking at proteins which are circulating in blood (there are many thousands of different ones). Dr Ania Baranowski has looked at these, so far, in 50 SCAD patients and a similar number of controls. She has found a number of different proteins in SCAD patients, including some which work together on particular biological processes which might be important. She is now validating this work by repeating analysis of some of these proteins of interest in a different group of SCAD patients and healthy volunteers.

“We are hoping to bring the data together from different ‘omics’ approaches, genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics (where we are looking at the mRNA – the message which is used by cells to make proteins) from skin biopsy cells and finally metabolomics (where we look at the breakdown products of particular body processes). By bringing these processes together we hope to be able to focus on particular networks of biological processes which are most relevant to SCAD as these will give insights into what causes SCAD and how we might best treat it.”

What to expect if you take part in the research

Beat SCAD encourages all SCAD patients to consider registering with the research team in Leicester.

When you contact the SCAD registry, you will be sent a consent form which gives permission for researchers to request your medical records and angiogram images.

Once the research team have confirmed a diagnosis of SCAD by studying your angiogram you will be confirmed as a participant. You’ll then be asked to complete a questionnaire about your medical history and SCAD event.

Depending on what the team are investigating and what funding is available, some people may be contacted for further details or tests. If you’re not contacted for a specific area of study, be assured that the information you provide is still extremely valuable, as it can be used for things like epidemiological studies such as looking at recurrence risk, looking at pregnancy after SCAD, comparing how SCAD is managed in different countries, and so on.

Beat SCAD is determined to continue supporting Dr Adlam and the whole SCAD research team as they discover answers to the many questions we still have about SCAD.

Other research projects

Also patient-led, the research programme at the Mayo Clinic in the US was kickstarted by two SCAD patients who met on social media. Dr Sharonne Hayes is leading the research and she and her colleagues have published some papers detailing their results so far.

Also in the US, the Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital are both running SCAD research projects.

A Canadian SCAD research project at the University of British Columbia is being led by Dr Jacqueline Saw.

An Australian SCAD research project is taking place at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, again in conjunction with patients who wanted answers.

The Spanish Registry on Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection is a multicentre prospective study looking at areas including predisposing factors, potential triggers and associated pathologies; clinical and angiographic presentations of SCAD patients; the value of diagnostic techniques; and recurrence.

Leicester BRU SCAD project website
Pictured above are the Beat SCAD Trustees, SCAD researchers Dr David Adlam, Dr Abi Al-Hussaini and Dr Alice Wood, with two-time SCAD survivor Sally Bee.