About the Deane Institute
The Deane Institute aims to accelerate current research and has
enable MGH investigators to launch several new AF and stroke
research initiatives. The Deane Institute hopes to alter the
landscape of heart and brain study, speeding a new wave of advances
that could have a profound impact on the treatment and prevention
of both AF and stroke.
A Timely Response to a Growing Public Health Problem
Atrial fibrillation now affects 3 million Americans and is the most
common sustained arrhythmia seen in clinical practice with approximately
350,000 new cases occurring each year. With the aging of the population
and the increasing prevalence of contributing risk factors such as
hypertension, the incidence of AF will increase significantly in
the coming decades.
For example, experts predict that one in every
four adults now age 40 will develop AF over the next 25 years,
creating an even greater public health problem than exists today.
Exacerbating these projections is the fact that AF accounts for 15%
of all strokes in the general population and close to 30% of all
strokes among older individuals. Thus, establishing the Deane Institute
at MGH is both timely and vital and will help address a public health
need of major significance.
MGH: An Ideal Setting for the Institute
The Deane Institute's location within the MGH – one of the world's
foremost academic medical centers - provides an ideal setting for
accomplishing the Institute’s goals. The hospital's Cardiac Arrhythmia
Service and the Stroke Service are widely considered among the finest
centers of their type, regionally and nationally. AF and stroke
research are well-established areas of concentrated interest
within both services:
The MGH Cardiac Arrhythmia Service
Jeremy N. Ruskin, MD, the MGH
Cardiac Arrhythmia Service
is a leader in several facets of AF treatment and stroke prevention:
the service is the region’s only clinical center with an associated
basic science program that is addressing the genetics of AF; it
sponsors the largest interventional electrophysiology (EP) service in
New England; its physicians are the most experienced in the world in
applying the latest catheter ablation techniques for treating AF;
it is a world leader in the development and use of a left atrial
appendage occlusion device for stroke prevention (the Watchman),
and its physicians are pioneering the application of a unique image
integration system to guide catheter ablation procedures. The system
combines MRI images with electro-anatomic maps, producing unprecedented
accuracy and clarity in three-dimensional images of the heart.
The MGH Stroke Service
Directed by Karen Furie, MD, the MGH Stroke Service comprises several faculty who are world leaders in the study of the genetic risk factors for stroke, stroke prevention, identification of disease biomarkers and other facets of stroke study and treatment. The Stroke Service's genetic studies are being conducted in collaboration with the MGH’s Center for Human Genetics Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Broad Institute. Because the greatest impact on stroke as a public health issue is via preventive measures, MGH Stroke Service physicians have been forerunners in the investigation of anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents, statins and vitamins in stroke prevention.
The MGH's extensive intellectual assets, its large and varied patient
population, the scope of its research enterprise and its experience and
leadership in the treatment and study of diseases affecting the heart
and brain define an investigative environment that is ripe with potential
for translating laboratory discoveries into improved clinical care.
Creating a New Synergy in Heart-Brain Study
Establishing the Deane Institute has formalized a new structure that
is fostering integrative research among the MGH's heart and brain
specialists. Traditionally, cardiology and neurology at the MGH have
existed side-by-side with little overlap in clinical services or
laboratory research. The Deane Institute serves as the vehicle for
bringing the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service and the Stroke Service together
to capture the rich research and clinical experience within each
specialty and to funnel this knowledge into an accelerated and
intensified effort aimed at AF-related stroke prevention and treatment.
The Deane Institute is providing the hospital’s top heart and brain
specialists with new opportunities for jointly investigating intriguing
topics of mutual interest, especially out-of-the-box ideas that challenge
con-ventional wisdom. It will also allow rising stars among the MGH's
junior faculty to generate data and proof-of-concept for innovative
studies that will enable them to apply for National Institutes of Health
grants and other external support. Modest investments of this type can
leverage millions of dollars in NIH funding while launching the careers
of the MGH's most promising young faculty.
Educating Physicians and Training a New Generation of Specialists
The Deane Institute's research mission is complemented by educational
programs for primary care physicians and other caregivers to aid in
the diagnosis and treatment of AF and the prevention of its complications.
Instructional efforts will include live webcasts demonstrating catheter
ablation techniques, left atrial appendage occlusion procedures
(implantation of the Watchman) and a series of web conferences on the
management of AF. The Deane Institute's research agenda will be further
strengthened by a special fellowship program geared to preparing a new
generation of clinicians and investigators who are in-terested in studying
overlapping facets of cardiology and neurology.
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