Novel blood marker shown to predict the incidence and severity of coronary artery disease

November 13, 2000

NEW ORLEANS, LA, Nov. 14, 2000, 4 pm EST - Scientists from San Diego State University in collaboration with the Naval Medical Center of San Diego today announced study results that could lead to a simple, inexpensive blood test for predicting the presence and extent of coronary artery disease (CAD). The results were presented during the American Heart Association 73rd Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

The MIRF (Myocardial Ischemia Rating Function) Trial was a double-blinded study of over 300 patients designed to test the utility of measuring serum sphingolipids (a type of lipids in the blood) as predictors of CAD and the resulting ischemia (reduced blood flow) it can cause in heart muscle.

In this study, sphingolipid levels were highly correlated with the incidence and severity of CAD as measured by angiography. Results from the clinical trial demonstrated that these novel ischemia markers were better predictors of CAD than all of the conventional risk factors such as age, gender, elevated cholesterol, and hypertension.

Disease predictability can be enhanced if the sphingolipid markers were combined with the strongest risk factors of age and gender to form the "MIRF" index. The relative risk of CAD was found to be more than 10 times higher in patients with high MIRF scores. Moreover, the MIRF index can predict the number of coronary blood vessels obstructed by CAD. Further, in high-risk hospitalized patients, the sphingolipid ischemia markers were shown to be a better predictor of CAD than age and gender combined.

"We conclude that the serum levels of sphingolipids are potentially strong and robust measures of CAD and may form the basis for a simple screening test to accurately determine the incidence and severity of cardiac ischemia," said Roger A. Sabbadini, Ph.D., professor of biology at San Diego State University and president of Medlyte Diagnostics, Inc. The research was supported by Medlyte Diagnostics, Inc. ( , a San Diego-based company founded by Dr. Sabbadini.
San Diego State University ( was founded in 1897 and is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region.

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Medlyte Diagnostics, Inc.

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