Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of three research groups to receive funding from a $3.1 million federal grant aimed at establishing a potential link between cancer and vessel damage cardiac.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute grant will cover five years.

Other research groups are the Duke Cancer Institute and the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center.

The institute is conducting a first-of-its-kind prospective study to search for early signs of heart vessel damage in young premenopausal breast cancer survivors.

According to a press release, rates of women with hormone receptor positive breast cancer have increased in the 21st century.

Survival rates for women with this type of breast cancer have improved when treatment involves estrogen depletion to prevent cancer cell growth.

According to the institute, estrogen keeps blood vessels healthy and protects women from heart disease.

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However, the long-term effect of estrogen depletion in young breast cancer survivors puts them at increased risk for heart disease, including heart failure and heart attack.

“Our patients with hormone receptor breast cancer are living longer with aggressive treatment that includes stopping estrogen production that induces early menopause,” said Dr. Alexandra Thomas, Professor of Hematology and oncology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the study. co-principal investigator.

“These patients have decades of life ahead of them, and we hope that by identifying early changes in the coronary arteries, we can find ways to reduce their risk of irreversible heart disease.”

The study is titled “Cardiac Outcomes with Near Complete Estrogen Deprivation.”

It will involve 90 women aged 55 and under, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sixty-five participants will receive standard estrogen depletion therapy, while 25 participants with hormone receptor negative breast cancer will serve as a control group for the study.

The study will be conducted at all three centers, and the researchers also hope to recruit a diverse group of women, particularly black women, who have higher rates of breast cancer and heart disease.

All participants will undergo imaging tests at different intervals to look for small changes in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.

These include cardiac MRI stress testing at the start of the study and at one- and two-year intervals.

They will also receive CT imaging of their heart arteries at baseline and after two years, as well as blood tests to look for biomarkers that correlate with cardiovascular disease risk.

Participants will be followed for five years.

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