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Focusing on ‘treating the patient, not the disease’ can transform the outlook for cardiovascular disease

Sharpening the focus to ‘treating the patient, not the disease’ can lead to a paradigm shift in outcomes


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the leading cause of death globally, accounting for 32% of all deaths, according to WHO statistics. Cost-effective interventions are needed to meet sustainable development goals and alleviate the growing societal and economic burden.

As the burden of deaths and disability as a result of CVD continues to grow and challenge health system resources around the world, we must deploy all our scientific and medical knowledge expertise to turn the tide.

Bayer’s prime focus of concentrating efforts on treating the patient, not the disease, is revealing fresh opportunities to meet the needs of those living with multiple interrelated diseases, who make up the majority of people with CVD.

Clinicians dealing with CVD have traditionally focused primarily on one organ of interest, like the heart, while overlooking the fact that the patient’s other organs, such as lungs or kidneys, may be significantly impacted by a worsening heart condition. This narrow approach can lead to sub- optimal treatment of patients with cardiovascular (CV) conditions, who usually have multiple comorbidities. Treatment for patients with CVDs such as heart failure or chronic kidney disease often means needing to consult cardiologists and nephrologists separately, specialists who operate in silos.

It is time to look at patients in a more holistic way.

At Bayer, building on our expertise and heritage in CV disease, we are collaborating with leading scientific and academic partners to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of CVDs and to help us identify innovative approaches to reduce disease onset and progression.

A deep scientific knowledge and understanding of heart and vascular health enabled us to develop several products for the treatment of CVDs, and we strongly believe that treating the patient, not the disease, will result in better outcomes for individuals and healthcare systems.

It is a transformation that needs to happen because statistics show that the global annual number of deaths from heart and circulatory diseases is projected to rise from 19 million in 2019 to more than 23 million by 2030, and to more than 34 million by 2060.

Currently, too many patients are experiencing suboptimal care as their interdependent organs are often neglected, which is detrimental to their overall condition and prospects. A more holistic approach would improve patient outcomes and promotes understanding of how their different conditions are interlinked and impact their health, which is critical in improving compliance and adherence.

Bayer is partnering with clinicians, policymakers and patient groups to accelerate diagnoses, address unmet needs, improve integrated healthcare solutions and support the sector with a portfolio of innovative medicines – at the centre of that is recognition that CVDs like stroke, heart failure or chronic kidney disease do not occur in isolation.

This approach informs everything we do, from R&D through platform acquisitions to patient and physician relations. We are constantly deploying and utilising our wealth of knowledge and experience in CVD health to look for new solutions.

Recent data on our investigational CV product portfolio underscores our commitment to investing in therapies that slow or prevent CVDs as we strive to make significant developments towards the prevention of CVD. For example, we are investigating cell and gene therapies that have the potential to revolutionise treatments, as they could actively reverse life-altering conditions such as heart failure.

CVD is a big umbrella, and thus we are applying machine learning for a deeper characterisation and segmentation of patients. AI may help us predict which patients are predisposed to adverse CV outcomes and why some treatments work better for some patients than others. Furthermore, by more efficient data collection and powerful analytics, AI may also enable faster trial recruitment in the future.

As CVD is a very challenging sector for pharmaceutical innovation, transformation is urgently needed, both in terms of investment and reimbursement, and for the growing number of patients with increasing comorbidities. To treat them effectively, we need to look at how we conduct clinical trials to enable different endpoints that address those comorbidities.

Aerial view
Aerial photo of the Bayer building in Berlin

It is an exciting ambition and Bayer will continue to research and innovate to improve patient outcomes. We must be bold to create an environment where patients have access to medicines that target the interconnected pathways and meet their increasingly complex needs.

Guided by this approach and mindset, we are refocusing our efforts and energy, and are excited by the promise of all we can achieve.

PP-UN-CAR-GB-0083/November 2022

So-Young Kim is VP Head TA Thrombosis & Vascular Diseases, Clinical Development at Bayer AG

20th December 2022

So-Young Kim is VP Head TA Thrombosis & Vascular Diseases, Clinical Development at Bayer AG

20th December 2022

From: Healthcare


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