Research led by Martin Maron, MD, Director of the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinical and Research Institute at Tufts Medical Center, has been recognized with a Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement award by the Clinical Research (CR) Forum. The study, “Strategy for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death in High-Risk Patients With Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy,” which was published in JAMA Cardiology on July 1, 2019, is among the important and ground-breaking clinical research studies that will be recognized at the 2020 Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 2020.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a relatively common genetic heart disease that causes the walls of the heart to abnormally thicken. HCM affects over 700,000 Americans (1 in 200-500 people in the general population) and remains the most common cause of sudden death in young people. However, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) are devices that can continually monitor the heart’s beating and respond to a dangerous arrhythmia by jolting the heart back to normal rhythm, essentially saving the life of the patient who otherwise would have likely suffered a sudden death event. Much research supports the use of ICDs as a preventative strategy in high-risk HCM patients. However, deciding which patients are the highest risk and therefore the most deserving of ICD therapy has been challenging, and a clear consensus on appropriate methods for identifying patients most in need of an ICD has been elusive.
Researchers followed more than 2,000 HCM patients treated at the Tufts Medical Center HCM Center (one of the top HCM Centers in the world) over a 17-year period to test a novel risk assessment strategy. For 82 of the 500 patients who received an ICD, the device successfully responded to at least one life-threatening arrythmia, preventing a possible sudden death event in those patients. Since the average age of these patients was 45, many additional life-saving interventions could be expected to occur, and many years of life were saved.
“The results of our research show that this strategy is highly effective for predicting which individuals are at risk of sudden death,” said Dr. Maron. “Our study provides strong evidence that will help guide decisions on who should receive an ICD, making the process easier for both doctors and patients.”
Following a nationwide call for nominations, the Clinical Research Forum Board of Directors selected winners based on the degree of innovation and novelty involved in the advancement of science; contribution to the understanding of human disease and/or physiology; and potential impact upon the diagnosis, prevention and/or treatment of disease. All nominated studies were published in peer-reviewed journals during 2019.
The award-winning studies exemplify major advances resulting from the nation’s investment in research to benefit the health and welfare of its citizens, and reflect the influential work being conducted by investigators at research institutions and hospitals across the United States, as well as at partner institutions from around the world.
“We were gratified to see among all of the nominations that the level of scientific rigor, quality, and innovation was truly outstanding,” said Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPH, Chair of the CR Forum Board of Directors. “It was a very difficult decision-making process, but as a result, we can say with confidence that these ten studies are truly remarkable.”
On April 14 in Washington, D.C., researchers from all ten research studies will be recognized and celebrated at a gala dinner and reception at the National Press Club. At the ceremony, the Clinical Research Forum will announce the top three studies that will receive additional recognition:
- The Herbert Pardes Clinical Research Excellence Award, named in honor of CR Forum board member Herbert Pardes for his profound impact on clinical research and academic medicine; this award, which comes with a $7,500 cash prize, is for the research study that best shows a high degree of innovation and creativity, advances science, and has an impact upon human disease.
- The Distinguished Clinical Research Achievement Awards, presented to the top two studies that show creativity, innovation, or a novel approach that demonstrates an immediate impact on the health and well-being of patients. Each study will receive a $5,000 cash prize.
Awardees will have the opportunity to meet with policymakers the day after the ceremony to discuss their findings and the critical role of federal funding for clinical research.
About Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children
Tufts Medical Center is an exceptional, not-for-profit, 415-bed academic medical center that is home to both a full-service hospital for adults and Floating Hospital for Children. Conveniently located in downtown Boston, the Medical Center is the principal teaching hospital for Tufts University School of Medicine. The Medical Center features a level one trauma center with rooftop helipad, the largest heart transplant center in New England and a renowned research program, ranking among the top 10 percent of independent hospitals to receive federal research funding. A physician network of 1,800 New England Quality Care Alliance doctors represents our strong commitment to health in the community. Tufts Medical Center is a founding member of Wellforce. For more information, visit www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org.
About the Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards
Recognizing the need to celebrate our nation's clinical research accomplishments that involve both innovation and impact on human disease, the Clinical Research Forum conducts an annual competition to determine the ten outstanding research accomplishments in the United States. These major research advances represent a portion of the annual return on the nation's investment in the health and future welfare of its citizens.
About the Clinical Research Forum and Clinical Research Foundation
The mission of the Clinical Research Forum is to provide leadership to the national and clinical translational research enterprise and promote understanding and support for clinical research and its impact on health and healthcare. For more information, visit www.clinicalresearchforum.org.
The Clinical Research Foundation is the charitable arm of the Clinical Research Forum. As a 501(c)(3), gifts to the Foundation support the Top Ten Clinical Research Achievement Awards and are tax deductible.