On November 15, 2016, University of Florida researcher Larisa Cavallari, Pharm.D., presented the findings of a collaborative IGNITE Network study at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. This study showed that a genetic test can significantly reduce the risk of adverse cardiac events for heart stent patients by helping identify the best antiplatelet medication for each patient.
About 30 percent of all patients have a genetic deficiency that impairs their ability to activate clopidogrel, a commonly used antiplatelet medication. This genetic deficiency can lead to decreased clopidogrel effectiveness and increased risk for adverse cardiovascular events such as strokes, heart attacks and death following cardiac stent procedures.
The study reported significant results: About 60 percent of patients with the genetic deficiency were given a different, more effective medication. Using the genetic data to guide changes in therapy reduced the percentage of deaths, heart attacks or strokes by nearly half compared with those who continued taking clopidogrel, the researchers found.
This collaborative study was conducted by the NIH-funded IGNITE Network. Other institutions that participated are the University of North Carolina, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Vanderbilt University, the University of Illinois-Chicago, Indiana University-Indianapolis, Sanford Health, Duke University and the University of Pennsylvania.