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Revolutionising heart disease diagnosis

Christchurch researchers are playing a key role in a new company aiming to make the diagnosis of heart disease faster and more accurate.

Upstream Medical Technologies (UMT) is a partnership between the University of Otago and private company Powerhouse Ventures Ltd. Researchers from the University's Christchurch Heart Institute are developing a range of tests for UMT to speed up diagnosis of potentially fatal heart disease. These tests will be patented and ultimately sold to hospitals worldwide.

The lead researchers are world-renowned scientists Associate Professor Chris Pemberton and Professor Mark Richards.

Christchurch discoveries key to new company

Associate Professor Pemberton says Christchurch Heart Institute researchers were first to identify the importance to heart health of protein fragments in the blood known as signal peptides.

"These protein fragments, once identified, can be monitored for medical diagnostics relating to heart health," he says.

"Our research group has developed a world first test to potentially speed up the diagnosis of unstable angina, a serious cardiac condition that is difficult and time-consuming for doctors and is a major area of unmet clinical diagnostics."