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Peter Libby, MD
Senior Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Medicine
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

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Research Narrative:

Dr. Peter Libby directs a research laboratory that focuses on the basic mechanisms of diseases of the arteries, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Dr. Libby and his colleagues are exploring the concept that the body's own defense mechanisms against such injury as cholesterol may eventually lead to a maladaptive reaction mediated by the immune and inflammatory responses that leads to blood vessel disease. The research group studies various messengers produced by the body that may be involved in producing blockages in arteries. These blockages, often called arterial plaque, can trigger formation of blood clots that cause heart attacks, strokes, and gangrene of the limbs.

In addition to probing the basic mechanisms of important arterial diseases, Dr. Libby has a particular devotion to translate his basic laboratory studies to pilot and then large-scale clinical cardiovascular outcome trials.  He instigated and helped to lead the large scale Canakinumab Anti-Inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Trial (CANTOS) that provided the first clinical validation of the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis.   Projects currently underway in his group include probing mechanisms of the acute coronary syndromes (heart attacks) with a particular emphasis on thromotic complications precipitated by superficail endothelial erosion.  The group is also forging new links between aging, cancer, and cardiovascular disease relating to disorders of white blood cell functions.  Such studies may also point to new targets for developing therapies to lessen further the burden of the heart and blood vessels, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.