The Mission of SHAPE
Our Path towards a Heart Attack Free Future
It is difficult for people to imagine a future in which heart attack and stroke are no longer a life-ending threat. In fact, they have become so much a part of our daily lives that we have accepted them as the natural and inevitable cause of premature death. However, thanks to recent breakthroughs that revolutionized the field of cardiovascular disease and shed new light on the underlying cause of heart attack, preventative cardiology has gained increased interest and acceptance.
These discoveries including the advancement of medical technologies have opened the way to early detection and treatment of the Vulnerable Patient (those at risk of a imminent heart attack or stroke). While screening is still the best approach today, the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication is working to introduce new, broadly prescribed combination medicines (polypill) that get us closer to the eradication of heart attacks and stroke. SHAPE is proactively proceeding to ensure its vision by promoting the following three phases of development:
- Era of Screening – Identifying and treating The Vulnerable Patient: The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication has launched the SHAPE Guidelines, that go beyond Framingham Risk Scoring and adds a multi-step risk stratification process that uses proven, effective noninvasive screening to assure that asymptomatic, at risk individuals are not overlooked.
- Era of “PolyPill” – Mass protective therapy of the at-risk population by using an effective, safe, and inexpensive combination pill:: As this “all-in-one” medication becomes widely available and cost effective, we envision that this will reduce the need for periodic multi-step screening tests, especially in developing nations. Once achieved, most at-risk individuals will be able to receive prophylactic combination medicines that can stabilize their disease before significant damage occurs.
- Era of Vaccine – Heart attack and stroke prevention through immunization: SHAPE looks forward to the day when the medical community can go beyond cardiovascular conditions. In order to realize our vision of a future free from heart attack and stroke, we support research that will eventually lead to an “atherovaccine,” a vaccine given in childhood that prevents atherosclerosis for a lifetime. The vaccination strategy we envision would mirror other successful vaccination campaigns that have eradicated diseases such as polio and smallpox, with universal inoculations that would effectively end the threat of heart attack and stroke.