Heart diseases are a major healthcare challenge in the EU. Cardiovascular disease, for instance, presents around 11 million new cases a year and is a factor in around 1.8 million deaths. Laboratory tests of certain biomarkers are used to guide treatments, but reliability is compromised by variation in results between tests, even for the same markers of disease. For example, the absence of agreed reference materials or procedures for cardiac troponin I (a marker for heart attacks) results in 85 % measurement variation between different test kits. However, traceable reference methods for the main biomarkers would substantially improve test performance and comparability.
The project will characterise and develop measurement procedures to enable traceable quantification of relevant biomarkers with the support of the most significant standards making organisations. It will also develop a biosensor probe for faster diagnosis of heart attacks, and promote the methods developed to laboratories, medical device makers, and medical associations. Reliable quantification of cardiac markers will reduce the risk of incorrect diagnoses, reduce the chance of patient deaths and help lower healthcare costs.