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 praticial 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 and medical technologies that support vulnerable patients in their homes.
"Most drug strategies target cell-specific mechanisms in an uncoordinated fashion," says Dr. Brunt, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology at 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, liver or kidney only."
Dr. Brunt co-founded NB Biomatrix Inc. in 2014 to commercialize these nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems. In one current project, he and his collaborators 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 private companies to develop systems that use vital signs monitoring, like home blood pressure machines to maximize homecare and detect early signs of adverse drug reactions. "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 Pulinilkunnil on several major projects exploring the impact of aging, frailty, obesity and diabetes on cardiovascular health and patient outcomes and quality of life.