The American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2023 Scientific Session was held in Philadelphia from November 11-13. This is one of the premier scientific meetings of the year with over 10,000 clinicians and researchers in attendance. Sessions focused on the latest research and insights to improve cardiovascular health.
The Family Heart Foundation Corporate Advisory Council meeting and our first AHA exhibit booth
On Saturday, November 11, the Family Heart Foundation held its annual Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) meeting. This was attended by over 40 people with strong representation from our 8 corporate partners, including Amgen, Novartis, Regeneron, Verve Therapeutics, Amryt/Chiesi, Kaneka, Eli Lilly, and Arrowhead.
The evening was kicked off by Founder and CEO Katherine Wilemon and incoming Board of Directors Chair Dr. Joshua Knowles. Like all Family Heart meetings, we started with the voice of the patient with 3 powerful videos featuring Family Heart advocates with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH), homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), and high lipoprotein(a), also known as Lp(a).
The Family Heart team then provided updates on our 2023 programs, with a special focus on the FIND and GOAL programs and a sneak peak of some exciting new programs coming in 2024.
The Family Heart Foundation also had an exhibit booth at the AHA meeting for the first time ever. The booth was staffed by Eric Tricou from our Care Navigation Center. We had strong traffic to the booth over the three days of the conference and gave many healthcare providers our patient education tear pads on FH, Lp(a), and the LDL Safe Zone!
New Family Heart data on Lp(a) screening
Dr. Mary McGowan presented original research from the Family Heart Foundation entitled, “Lipoprotein(a) Screening Practices in A Large US Healthcare Dataset”.
The research used real-world, deidentified data from the Family Heart Database of 324 million Americans. What we found was:
- Overall, only 1.1% of adults had their Lp(a) tested between 2012 and 2021.
- In adults with ASCVD, only 2% had their Lp(a) tested.
- A small number of clinicians (1.6%) ordered half of all Lp(a) tests.
“Measurement of Lp(a) in US adults with and without ASCVD was rare but increased substantially after 2018. Individuals who had Lp(a) assessed were older and frequently had ASCVD and comorbidities. A small number of clinicians were responsible for most Lp(a) orders. Additional research into barriers and facilitators of Lp(a) screening is needed.”
SELECT trial shows a 20% reduction in cardiovascular events
One of the highlights of AHA 2023 was the presentation of the SELECT trial results, which was the first study to ever show a benefit of an obesity treatment on hard cardiovascular outcomes.
SELECT enrolled 17,604 adults with preexisting cardiovascular disease who were overweight or obese but who did not have diabetes. Trial participants were randomized and received either 2.4 mg of semaglutide (Wegovy) or placebo. They were followed for nearly 40 months.
Over those 40 months, researchers recorded how many patients reached a “primary cardiovascular endpoint.” That means they watched to see who had a nonfatal stroke, nonfatal heart attack, or died from a cardiovascular cause.
Those with the drug had a significant 20% reduction of risk of those events versus those with the placebo. Semaglutide also reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 73%!
Verve Therapeutics presents first human proof of concept data, showing promising results with gene editing
Verve Therapeutics presented data from the heart-1 study on a single dose of Verve-101.
Verve 101 is a gene editing therapy that essentially “turns off” the PCSK9 gene in the liver. It was given to 10 patients who had both heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia and cardiovascular disease and who also had uncontrolled cholesterol even while using existing treatments.
At the highest dose, LDL dropped by 55% with just one treatment. Patients were followed for 180 days, and LDL remained lower.
As a next step, Verve will continue enrolling patients in the heart-1 study in the UK and New Zealand. Study sites will open in the US in 2024.
Eli Lilly presents results from a Lp(a) drug trial
Eli Lilly presented exciting data from a Phase 1 study of lepodisiran, a drug targeting Lp(a).
This study involved 48 patients with a baseline Lp(a) of 75 nmol/L or greater. They were randomly assigned a placebo or one of 6 doses of lepodisiran. Participants were followed for up to 48 weeks.
Lepodisiran is a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapy that targets (or “silences”) the LPA gene and reduces the production of Lp(a).
The study was primarily looking at safety and tolerability of lepodisiran, but over the 48 weeks researchers also found significant reductions in Lp(a) levels. At the highest dose, lepodisiran reduced Lp(a) by 97%.
A Phase 2 of the trial is already underway, and this continues to look like a promising option for those living with high Lp(a).