Associate Professor, Medicine
Coming to Canada from the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Studying the mechanisms and genetic determinants of antiplatelet drug resistance and improving its diagnosis and treatment.
The research is leading to the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools to prevent cardiovascular disease.
An Aspirin a Day . . . Overcoming the Problem of Aspirin Resistance in Patients with Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the single most common cause of death or long-term disability in Canada and it costs the economy more than 18 billion dollars each year. Aspirin is a simple, safe, and highly cost-effective treatment to prevent cardiovascular disease and is the single most widely used pharmaceutical agent worldwide.
Not all patients at risk of cardiovascular disease, however, benefit from aspirin. One in seven patients experiences another heart attack or stroke or will die from the complications of cardiovascular disease within two to three years of starting treatment.
The challenge for clinicians and researchers is to determine why this occurs and what can be done to prevent breakthrough cardiovascular events in patients already treated with aspirin.
This is where Dr. John Eikelboom comes in. In a landmark study involving almost 1,000 patients at high risk of cardiovascular events treated with aspirin, Dr. Eikelboom and his colleagues demonstrated that at least 20 percent of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths that occur during aspirin treatment are caused by a "resistance" to its antiplatelet effects. What’s more, evidence suggests that patients who are resistant to aspirin may be identified by a simple urine test.
Identifying those patients who are most likely to be resistant to aspirin is but the first step in solving the problem of aspirin resistance. As a Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine, Dr. Eikelboom is figuring out what causes aspirin resistance and he is working on the development of new treatments to overcome the problem.
Dr. Eikelboom’s work has implications for clinical and public health worldwide. Because of the scope of cardiovascular disease and the widespread use of aspirin, even a small improvement in its effectiveness could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes each year.