The American Heart Association and Google Life Sciences Announce Collaboration to Change Trajectory of Heart Disease

November 08, 2015 Categories: Program News

Highlights:

  • Each Organization to Commit $25M for a Combined $50M to Uncover Drivers of Heart Disease
  • Novel Research Model to Tap Best and Brightest Minds from Various Disciplines

Embargoed until 3:15 p.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015

This news release is featured in a media interview opportunity at 11:20 a.m. ET, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015

ORLANDO, Florida, November 8, 2015 — The American Heart Association (AHA) and Google Life Sciences (GLS) have announced a joint commitment to form a research collaboration that will bring new, unconventional thinking to one of the longstanding challenges of cardiovascular disease. Each organization will invest $25 million for a total of $50 million over roughly five years to support novel strategies to understand, prevent, and reverse coronary heart disease and its consequences, such as heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, accounting annually for approximately 17 million deaths, or about one of every three deaths. Coronary heart disease itself is responsible for more than 7 million deaths annually. But the root causes of this disease continue to be explored and a concerted effort, combining technology and medicine, could help. Because traditional research funding models, which are often incremental and piecemeal, make it difficult to study a multifaceted subject that plays out over many years, AHA and GLS have committed to a bold new approach: a $50 million investment in one research team, which will be tasked with developing a richer, deeper understanding of cardiovascular disease.

This marks the largest one-time research investment in AHA’s history. In early 2016, a Joint Leadership Group made up of individuals from AHA and Google Life Sciences will select a team leader to run this effort. This team leader, who may be a cardiologist but could come from any background or area of expertise, will receive the full $50 million in funding over roughly five years to design a program, assemble a cross-functional group of investigators, and lead all efforts towards further finding new causes and drivers of coronary heart disease. The team will have support across many important areas, including clinical research, engineering, and data analysis, as well as ongoing strategic counsel, oversight and access to resources from the Joint Leadership Group.

“With its devastating human impact on countless generations of families, cardiovascular disease, and in particular coronary heart disease remains the greatest and deadliest global health challenge we face today,” said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. “By working together, AHA and Google Life Sciences will be able to serve as the catalyst for change and transformation in reducing the impact of coronary heart disease on people’s lives and alleviating this global burden. Just imagine if we could reverse coronary artery disease and restore the healthy heart muscle it destroys or, even better, prevent the whole process from beginning in the first place!”

Technology has a critical role to play. The collaboration will provide the scientific community with channels to technical capabilities and insights offered by Google Life Sciences. With the unique opportunity to access such resources, the collaboration will expand research pathways and empower researchers to conceptualize and test new approaches. AHA, the nation’s authority on cardiovascular disease will contribute its vast scientific and medical resources, resulting in the application of a unique blend of technical and scientific knowledge to the search for new cardiovascular solutions.

“This is a fundamentally different kind of model for funding innovation,” said Andy Conrad, CEO of Google Life Sciences. “The team leader will be able to bring together clinicians, engineers, designers, basic researchers and other experts to think in new ways about the causes of coronary heart disease. We’re already imagining the possibilities when a team like that has access to the full resources of both Google Life Sciences and the AHA -- and we can’t wait to see what they discover.”

More information about the structure of the collaborative will be released as it’s developed in coming months.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the life sciences team at Google

The life sciences team at Google is focused on helping to move health care from reactive to proactive. Combining expertise from the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, medicine, electrical engineering and computer science, we’re developing new technology tools for physicians that can integrate easily into daily life and help transform the detection, prevention, and management of disease. Current projects in development include a smart contact lens with miniaturized glucose sensor; a collaboration to develop new kinds of continuous glucose monitors, a nanodiagnostics platform to help with early detection of disease; cardiac and activity sensors, and Liftware utensils for people with tremor. The life sciences team graduated from Google[x] and is now in the process of becoming a standalone Alphabet company.

For Media Inquiries:

American Heart Association: Amit Chitre: 585-414-3199, amit.chitre@heart.org 

Google Life Sciences: Press@Google.com

Life is why, science is how . . . we help people live longer, healthier lives.