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BSU gets million dollar grant to help in search of cure for heart disease

Posted: 7:42 PM, Nov 03, 2017
Updated: 2017-11-04 20:34:02-04

A Boise State team was thrilled to learn they were given part of a one million dollar grant to work towards a cure for heart disease.

"The whole idea is to take America's leading killer and identify ways to prevent that from occurring," said Owen Mcdougal, BSU's chair of chemistry and professor.

"It's nice to see when your hard work is rewarded," said Matt King, assistant professor at BSU

"When you have 50 percent of all patients that have heart attacks going into emergency rooms that have normal cholesterol levels there has to be something else working," said Mcdougal.

They believe the problem may lie with a protein called Fortilin which they think can cause heart attacks in people with perfectly healthy levels of cholesterol.

But here is the problem Boise State researchers aim to fix. Right now there are no drugs on the market that target the protein Fortilin.

Current treatments tend to focus on managing cholesterol levels in patients. 
"So that doesn't touch the other 50 percent that have normal levels of cholesterol," said King.
Researchers at BSU were approached to be part of the team to develop a new drug that treats the other 50 percent and saves lives.

"It really compels me to try to develop a drug that helps people that wouldn't get help otherwise," said Lisa Warner.

While working to save countless lives is rewarding enough, the grant and research also helps showcase Boise State as a modern research-driven university which helps keeps top talent right here in the Treasure Valley.

"We get a lot of tremendous students coming through Boise State University that seek other opportunities at other institutions because the research is at a higher caliber," said Mcdougal. This is a demonstration of we can do high caliber research at Boise State University."