Well-known cardiologist Eric Topol has been appointed by Scripps Health in San Diego, CA, to lead a new institute to research genetic causes of heart and other diseases.
Dr. Topol is the former chairman of Cleveland Clinic's cardiovascular medicine, an institution which he is credited for having made a global leader in cardiac care during his 15-year tenure.
He is also recognized as one of the first people to warn that a class of pain drugs including Vioxx increases the risk of heart disease, reported the San Diego Union-Tribune. Dr. Topol has been a key witness in lawsuits against Vioxx's manufacturer, Merck & Co., which withdrew the drug in 2004.
Beginning in January, he will oversee two projects receiving a combined $30 million from the National Institutes of Health. The studies are attempting to isolate genetic markers and molecular changes that lead to heart attacks and muscle failure. With these programs, Topol and others have developed a collection of so-called “genetic signatures” from more than 10,000 people who suffered a heart attack.