Work of CAIN Investigators Helping to Redefine Understanding of Atherosclerosis

Building on years of pioneering research, CAIN Investigator Dr. J. David Spence of the Stroke Prevention and Atherosclerosis Research Centre at Western University is refining the common understanding of atherosclerosis regression.  In a recent Letter to the Editor of Atherosclerosis, Dr. Spence critiques a work of Noyes and Thompson from the same journal, entitled A systematic review of the time course of atherosclerotic plaque regression, for both inaccurately determining plaque burden and therefore regression, and for approaching therapy intensity from an erroneous perspective. Spence’s previously published work in 2005 with fellow CAIN investigator Dr. Aaron Fenster of the Imaging Research Laboratories at Robarts Research Institute and Western University, underscores the rationale behind the correction, reiterating that “measurement of carotid plaque burden by ultrasound is much superior to IMT for assessing effects of therapy.”  His letter can be viewed here, and the original article here.

The partnership of Spence and Fenster et al. has also been employed towards better prognosis and risk stratification of atherosclerotic patients.  The toolan ultrasound system capable of producing 3D images of the carotid artery and any associated plaque, has proven superior to the standard of care when evaluated in a cohort of patients in London, Ontario, providing a unique instrument for the measurement and characterization of these carotid plaques. The 3D ultrasound system provides a reliable method of evaluating total ulcer volume of atherosclerosis patients, which is a good and difficult to obtain prognostic indicator, as well as plaque texture change and total plaque volumes which are also important risk factors. This collaboration is effective; contributing to the global understanding atherosclerosis, the leading cause of illness and death in Canada.



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