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University of Louisville Foundation

In February 2016, Alpha Phi Foundation announced University of Louisville Foundation as the recipient of the 2016 Heart to Heart Grant. Awarded annually, the Heart to Heart Grant funds research and educational programs that help medical professionals better understand heart disease in women - specifically its symptoms, treatment and prevention.

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University of Louisville cardiologist Andrew DeFilippis, M.D., M.Sc., will use this $100,000 grant to study archived blood samples from thousands of patients to determine whether the presence of certain lipids in the bloodstream can be used to pinpoint women at risk for having a heart attack.  

"This new test holds great promise for more accurately identifying women at risk for having a heart attack before any permanent heart damage occurs," DeFilippis said. "It may allow for more targeted therapy for those at greatest risk of having a heart attack."  

To test this theory, DeFilippis and his research team in the University of Louisville's Institute of Molecular Cardiology will evaluate blood samples and data collected in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) trial, a multi-center prospective study of cardiovascular disease involving 6,814 men and women in six cities in the United States. Beginning in 2000, blood samples were taken and stored for MESA subjects, and their health was followed for up to a decade. DeFilippis plans to evaluate the blood samples and data to determine whether oxidized phospholipids (OxPL) can be used as a biomarker in predicting heart disease. 

"The efforts associated with understanding a novel biomarker can cost millions and take decades to introduce to clinical practice. With this grant from Alpha Phi Foundation, we can take advantage of the wealth of data in the MESA study and test this promising biomarker with much less expenditure of funds and time."  

"The potential for the research Dr. DeFilippis is conducting is awe-inspiring," said Susan Zabriskie, interim executive director of Alpha Phi Foundation. "We are proud to invest in this innovative study that can change the way women are diagnosed with and treated for heart disease. Together we can lessen the impact of heart disease in women for generations to come."  

The Heart to Heart Grant is made possible by individual donors, corporations and a portion of proceeds from collegiate and alumnae chapter Red Dress events.