Dr. Keith Brunt
Hands-on help for heart disease: Dr. Keith Brunt develops practical solutions to heart disease problems
As a translational scientist, Dr. Keith Brunt develops and tests pratcial solutions to pressing problems in cardiovascular disease. He is particularly involved in creating and adapting technologies to improve patient outcomes, including nanotechnologies for delivering drugs straight to the heart.
"Most drug strategies target indirect mechanisms," says Dr. Brunt, an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Dalhousie Medical School - Dalhousie Medicine New Brunswick (DMNB). "For example, cholesterol-lowering statins act on the liver and blood pressure medications work through the kidneys. We're using microscopic molecules of fats, acids and other biologically compatible substances as vehicles for delivering disease-modifying drugs to the heart."
Dr. Brunt co-founded NB Biomatrix Inc. in 2014 to commercialize these nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems. In one current project, he and his colleagues are using a microscopic molecule to deliver good cholesterol directly to the heart and blood vessels, to see if this will heal lesions on the inside of blood vessels that eventually lead to heart attacks and compromised heart function.
Dr. Brunt is leading efforts in New Brunswick to boost cardiac patients' access to medical advice and intervention with technology. He's working with Dr. Sohrab Lutchmedial and a private company develop a system that uses home blood pressure machines and a mobile app to help patients and their physicians monitor and maintain blood pressure control."I call this social medicine," says Dr. Brunt. "The technology is there, it just needs to be adapted to medical uses and tested in a perfect living lab like we have here in the Maritimes." Dr. Brunt also works closely with Dr. Ansar Hassan, Dr. Petra Kienesberger and Dr. Thomas Pulnilkunnil on several major projects exploring the impact of aging, frailty, obesity and diabetes on cardiovascular health and patient outcomes and quality of life.