The HRP Initiative – Collaboration for Innovation
In 2006, a group of leading companies came together for the HRP Initiative. HRP stood for “high-risk patient”. The objective of the HRP initiative was to try to improve identification of those at high risk for near-term major cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes. The five companies were Abbott, AstraZeneca, Merck, Philips and Takeda, and the initiative was led by a BG Medicine (Waltham, MA).
A key component of the HRP Initiative was the BioImage study, which combined a range of imaging modalities with the collection of blood and DNA for testing. The HRP Initiative wanted to study these methods in a “real-world” population – a group of participants that resembled the population at large. The HRP Initiative partnered with Humana, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers. Selected Humana members in Illinois (Chicago area) and Florida (Ft Lauderdale) were given an opportunity to volunteer for this study. Approximately 10,000 Humana members volunteered, 6,822 of which visited one of the temporary research centers. Participants authorized the use of their Humana healthcare information to monitor their health events for up to three years from enrollment.
The results of the BioImage study have been reported in leading medical journals. One of the most surprising and promising findings of the BioImage study has been how well ultrasound performed.
One of the first publications reported on how ultrasound and other methods compared to the gold standard, known as Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring, or CACS. Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring is a test that requires a CT-scan of the chest, which uses a moderate dose of X-ray radiation. Compared to other methods, carotid plaque burden by ultrasound tracked very closely with the CACS score. (J Am Coll Cardiol Img 2012;5:681–9).
In a subsequent analysis, the relation between ultrasound plaque burden and the occurrence of events was investigated. Carotid ultrasound and CACS were found to be excellent measures of risk for major cardiovascular events over the close to three-year study follow-up. (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Mar 24;65(11):1065-74). This paper can be downloaded free of charge by clicking on the image of the paper on the right.