FORT LAUDERDALE – The Campbell Foundation has awarded a $90,000 grant to a pair of researchers investigating why cardiovascular disease (CVD) is significantly more prevalent among people living with HIV-1 than among those in the general population.
The recipients are Teresa H. Evering, MD MSc, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine, and Jonathan N. Tobin, PhD, a cardiovascular epidemiologist, President/CEO at Clinical Directors Network (CDN), a practice-based research network, and Senior Epidemiologist at The Rockefeller University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, where he and Evering, who earned her MSc from the Rockefeller University Clinical Scholars Program, have worked together on Community-Engaged Research.
Evering and Tobin propose using the wealth of clinical data available in Healthix, the largest public Health Information Exchange in the nation, serving New York City and Long Island, to explore the role that neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) play in predicting cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease in people living with HIV. These blood test results, which can be calculated from routine blood work, are two inexpensive measures of inflammation that are readily available from the electronic health record.
The researchers will be looking at de-identified data over a ten-year period between 2009 and 2019 that includes 60,000 HIV positive patients and 180,000 demographically matched HIV negative patients.
“People living with HIV are 1.5 to two times more likely to experience heart disease and stroke than people not infected with the virus. We believe this research could lead to the ability to identify those people living with HIV who are at higher risk for developing cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and develop ways to mitigate that risk,” said The Campbell Foundation’s Executive Director Ken Rapkin.
It is well established that NLR and PLR are two low-cost ways to measure inflammation in the body. Neutrophils and lymphocytes make up the first line of defense inside the body against foreign invaders. In recent years, PLR has been used as a prognostic marker in cardiovascular conditions.
In addition to looking at cardiovascular risk, Evering and Tobin also aim to explore the relationship of these two measures of inflammation to cerebrovascular events for the first time in people living with HIV.
“This study is innovative in bringing together existing, real-world evidence from large population-based clinical data sets from New York City, which include underserved and under-examined minority and low-income people living with HIV and similar HIV-1 negative patients,” said Evering.
Added Tobin: “These studies have the potential to identify cardiovascular disease and neurologic outcomes in people living with HIV, which could lead to more aggressive screening and preventive measures. In the long-term, this information can improve diagnosis, disease monitoring and the search for effective therapies.”
In approving the funding, The Campbell Foundation’s Peer Review Board found this proposal to be innovative and the researchers to be a strong team to complete the proposed work.
About The Campbell Foundation
The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. In its 26th year, the Campbell Foundation has given away more than $11.5 million, with about $1.2 million going to direct services.