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Home Technologies A simple blood test that can predict heart failure earlier than current methods
A simple blood test that can predict heart failure earlier than current methods

A simple blood test that can predict heart failure earlier than current methods

Unmet Need

Heart failure is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the developed world. Approximately 50% of the US population over the age of 45 is expected to have preclinical heart failure, and current techniques to identify those who will progress to advanced heart failure are limited. Despite this, heart failure treatment is almost exclusively limited to treating symptoms after onset. There are several cardiac biomarkers currently used in the clinic, most commonly NTproBNP, but these cannot be reliably used to predict whether a patient will develop heart failure in the future. There is a need for heart failure diagnostics that can accurately identify patients who would benefit from early therapeutic interventions for heart failure.


Duke inventors have developed a method for detecting asymptomatic heart failure. This is intended to be used as a blood test to monitor those at high risk for heart disease as well as the general population to predict who is most likely to develop symptomatic heart failure. Specifically, pro-N-cadherin released from the surface of cardiac cells has been measured in blood plasma using an ELISA. This has been demonstrated in a retrospective study using 690 plasma samples from human participants. It was observed that in the general population, participants whose pro-N-cadherin levels measured greater than 8 ng/mL, they ultimately had an 82% increased risk of developing symptomatic heart failure within 2 years independent of age, body mass index, sex, blood pressure, previous heart attack, or coronary artery disease.


  • A diagnostic method that can detect heart failure before symptoms appear and identify patients that could benefit from early therapeutic intervention
  • Accurate as a biomarker at the level of community-based screening (general population) where there is no currently approved biomarker test
  • Achieved with a simple blood test
  • Less variable than current biomarkers because it is unaffected by variables such as age, race, or BMI
  • Can also be used on previously frozen blood samples
  • Researchers also have developed a humanized pro-N-cadherin antibody that can be used with this technology (see Duke technology number T-006634)

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