Two years after Texas A&M University researchers invented a more precise cholesterol test that allows doctors to identify health risks that traditional screens miss, a Texas A&M chemistry graduate is taking the technology to the health-care market.

Dr. Jan Troup '74 recently began offering the advanced tests at LipidLabs Inc., a diagnostic laboratory in The Woodlands. The blood-screening process, licensed by Texas A&M, was developed by Dr. Ronald Macfarlane and fellow researchers in the Department of Chemistry. The process, which is the subject of two pending patents, separates lipids in the blood to create a detailed cholesterol profile that helps doctors identify patients at risk for heart disease.

Transfer Technology Success: Alumni Dr. Jan Troup '74 (left) and Professor Ronald Macfarlane(right), have teamed up to take academic research into a commercial venture.

Macfarlane leads a Texas A&M research group studying advanced analytical techniques that can help doctors diagnose early warning signs for coronary heart disease, which kills more than 2,600 Americans a day, according to the American Heart Association. High LDL cholesterol is a major cause of coronary heart disease, according to the National Cholesterol Education Program.

Aiming to identify early risk factors, the National Cholesterol Education Program recently issued guidelines calling for more comprehensive cholesterol screens as well as other risk factors not included in the cholesterol screen.

"The Advanced Lipoprotein FingerprintingTM process developed at Texas A&M gives doctors a precise reading not only of a patient's cholesterol levels but other independent risk factors known to be associated with heart disease," Macfarlane said. "The test goes well beyond standard measurements of 'good' and 'bad' cholesterol levels," he said. "The focus of the test is to identify problems in the 50 percent of patients who are actually at risk for developing cardiovascular disease but are missed by the standard lipid panel."

Troup, president and chief executive officer of LipidLabs, said: "Lipoprotein Fingerprinting separates lipoproteins in the blood, showing the result in a graph with the lipoproteins in bands at their specific densities. The detailed graph allows a doctor to precisely analyze a patient's overall risk profile and monitor the effectiveness of a diet or treatment regimen."

With early detection, particularly in youth, the key to slowing down the development of heart disease in later life, Troup said advanced cholesterol screening is a valuable tool that is gaining acceptance among medical insurers. LipidLabs' results translate to more accurate and specific data on which to make clinical judgments and guide patient therapy and prevention at reasonable costs, he said.


Contact: Mark Minton, Communications Specialist, Texas A&M College of Science (979) 862-1237 or mminton@science.tamu.edu; Jan Troup (281) 364-8323 or info@lipidlabs.com; Ronald Macfarlane (979) 845-2021 r-macfarlane@tamu.edu.

Press Coverage:
Cholesterol Screening - New test helps doctors diagnose early warning signs for heart disease - Heart Disease Weekly (03/23/03)
"New cholesterol test identifies those at highest risk for heart disease" - St. Louis Dispatch (03/22/03)
"Pulse Points: Better cholesterol test?" - The Boston Globe (02/24/03)
"New Cholesterol Test Helps Doctors Diagnose Early Warning Signs for Heart Disease" - AScribe Newswire (02/24/03)

Minton Mark

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