(Omaha, Nebraska) March 27, 2017

 

Startup accelerator, Academic Technology Ventures, is helping to build a new biomedical startup company with an invention created at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

From left are Michael Duryee, Geoff Thiele and Dan Anderson. They are the HealthCheck researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.
From left are Michael Duryee, Geoff Thiele and Dan Anderson. They are the HealthCheck researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb.

The startup, HealthCheck, promises a better and more accurate way to determine who is liable to develop any deadly heart diseases based on a biomarker discovered at UNMC. This biomarker can be found using just a simple blood test, yet could help doctors and cardiologists more accurately diagnose different types of coronary artery disease.

“Currently, there’s no way to differentiate the 47-year-old with stable coronary artery disease from the one who suddenly drops dead in his driveway,” said Joe Runge, the Director of Business Development at UNeMed, the technology transfer office at UNMC.

HealthCheck’s blood test could give healthcare providers the insight to predict which patients are likely to develop the more dangerous, unstable forms of coronary artery disease.

“It solves a huge problem,” said Corey Park, chairman, and founder of Academic Technology Ventures. “That would be key for a doctor to be able to say, ‘Hey, change your lifestyle now.’”

heart_disease
Diagram of an artery narrowed by plaque buildup.

Coronary artery disease is the accumulation of plaques inside the arteries. While Some people have a stable, non-life-threatening form of the disease, others have the more dangerous, unstable version is known as unstable angina. This is where a blockage of the artery due to a build up of plaque or blood clot result in a sudden heart attack or stroke.

Unfortunately, telling the difference between stable and unstable coronary artery disease has been virtually impossible until HealthCheck’s team of UNMC scientists (pictured above) found a common marker between patients with unstable coronary artery disease.

Blood samples taken from patients with the disease showed large amounts of a certain molecule known as MAA, short for malondialdehyde–acetaldehyde. This identifying marker has the very real potential to provide doctors with a more accurate reading than current blood pressure tests or cholesterol counts.

 

 

HHealth_Check_Diagnostics_logoealthCheck will initially set up in New Jersey, where the company is expected to raise additional capital to support further testing. The additional tests will be used to secure FDA clearance, and hopefully enter the market within the next two or three years, Park said.

“Best-case scenario is this becomes a standardized test with yearly screenings,” Park said. “I think it’s got enough legitimacy to become—not necessarily mandated—but part of that regular regimen.”

For more information visit the Academic Technology Ventures website or the official HealthCheck homepage.